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History of Egypt 

From 330 B. C. to the Present Time 

By S. RAPPOPORT, Doctor of Philosophy, Basel ; 
Member of the Ecole Langues Orientales, Paris ; 
Russian, German, French Orientalist and Philologist 













Volume I. 





lEtiitton Rationale 

Limited to One Thousand Copies 
for England and America 

Copyright, igo4 
By The Grolier Society 


Professor Maspero closes his History of Egypt with 
the conquest of Alexander the Great. There is a sense 
of dramatic fitness in this selection, for, with the com- 
ing of the Macedonians, the sceptre of authority passed 
for ever out of the hand of the Egyptian. For sev- 
eral centuries the power of the race had been declin- 
ing, and foreign nations had contended for the vast 
treasure-house of Egypt. Alexander found the Persians 
virtually rulers of the land. The ancient people whose 
fame has come down to us through centuries untarnished 
had been forced to bow beneath the yoke of foreign 
masters, and nations of alien blood were henceforth to 
dominate its history. 

The first Ptolemy founded a Macedonian or Greek 
dynasty that maintained supremacy in Egypt until the 
year 30 b. c. His successors were his lineal descendants, 
and to the very last they prided themselves on their 
Greek origin; but the government which they estab- 
lished was essentially Oriental in character. The names 
of Ptolemy and Cleopatra convey an Egyptian rather 
than a Greek significance; and the later rulers of the 
dynasty were true Egyptians, since their ancestors had 
lived in Alexandria for three full centuries. 

In the year 30 b. c. Augustus Caesar conquered the 
last of the Ptolemies, the famous Cleopatra. Augustus 
made Egypt virtually his private province, and drew 
from it resources that were among the chief elements of 


his power. After Augustus, the Romans continued in 
control until the coming of the Saracens under Amr, 
in the seventh century. Various dynasties of Moham- 
medans, covering a period of several centuries, main- 
tained control until the Mamluks, in 1250, overthrew the 
legitimate rulers, to be themselves overthrown three 
centuries later by the Turks under Selim I. Turkish 
rule was maintained until near the close of the eight- 
eenth century, when the French, under Napoleon Bona- 
parte, invaded Egypt. In 1806, after the expulsion of 
the French by the English, the famous Mehemet Ali 
destroyed the last vestiges of Mamluk power, and set 
up a quasi-independent sovereignty which was not dis- 
turbed until toward the close of the nineteenth century. 
The events of the last twenty-five years, comprising a 
short period of joint control of Egypt by the French and 
English, followed by the British occupation, are fresh 
in the mind of the reader. 

What may be termed the modern history of Egypt 
covers a period of more than twenty-two centuries. 
During this time the native Egyptian can scarcely be 
said to have a national history, but the land of Egypt, 
and the races who have become acclimated there, have 
passed through many interesting phases. Professor 
Maspero completes the history of antiquity in that dra- 
matic scene in which the ancient Egyptian makes his 
last futile struggle for independence. But the Nile Val- 
ley has remained the scene of the most important events 
where the strongest nations of the earth contended for 
supremacy. It is most interesting to note that the 


invaders of Egypt, while impressing their military stamp 
upon the natives, have been mastered in a very real sense 
by the spell of Egypt's greatness; but the language, the 
key to ancient learning and civilisation, still remained 
a well-guarded secret. Here and there one of the Ptole- 
mies or Greeks thought it worth his while to master the 
hieroglyphic writing. Occasionally a Roman of the later 
period may have done the same, but such an accomplish- 
ment was no doubt very unusual from the first. The 
subordinated Egyptians therefore had no resource but 
to learn the language of their conquerors, and presently 
it came to pass that not even the native Egyptian re- 
membered the elusive secrets of his own written lan- 
guage. Egyptian, as a spoken tongue, remained, in a 
modified form, as Koptic, but at about the beginning of 
our era the classical Egyptian had become a dead lan- 
guage. No one any longer wrote in the hieroglyphic, 
hieratic, or demotic scripts; in a word, the hieroglyphic 
writing was forgotten. The reader of Professor Mas- 
pero's pages has had opportunity to learn how this secret 
was discovered in the nineteenth century. This informa- 
tion is further amplified in the present volumes, and we 
see how in our own time the native Egyptian has regained 
something of his former grandeur through the careful 
and scientific study of monuments, inscriptions, and 
works of art. Thus it will appear in the curious round- 
ing out of the enigmatic story that the most ancient 
history of civilisation becomes also the newest and most 
modern human history. 



It should be explained that Doctor Rappoport, in pre- 
paring these volumes, has drawn very largely upon the 
authorities who have previously laboured in the same 
field, and in particular upon the works of Creasy, Duruy, 
Ebers, Lavisse, Marcel, Michaud, Neibuhr, Paton, Ram- 
baud, Sharp, and Weil. The results of investigations 
by Professor W. M. Flinders Petrie and other prominent 
Egyptologists have been fully set forth and profusely 




Alexandria as the meeting-place of Western and Eastern Culture — The 

blending of Jewish and Greek Ideals . 3 



Alexander the Great — Cleomenes (332-323 b. c ) 15 



Ptolemy governs Egypt, overcomes Perdiccas, and establishes a Dynasty . 31 



Treaty with Rome — Expansion of Trade — Alexandrian Culture — The 

Septuagint 101 



The struggle for Syria — Decline of the Dynasty — Advent of Roman 

Control 153 




The Syrian Invasion — The Jews and the Bible — Relations with Rome — 

Literature of the Age . . . . . . . . .213 



The Weakness of the Ptolemies — Egypt bequeathed to Rome — Pompey, 

Caesar, and Antony befriend Egypt ....... 263 



Pompey, Caesar, and Antony in Egypt — Cleopatra's Extravagance and 

Intrigues — Octavianus annexes Egypt — Retrospect . . . .315 



Prayer to Isis .......... Frontispiece 

Alexandria ............ 15 

Alexander the Great . 15 

Transporting grain on the Nile 19 

Phtah, the God of Memphis 21 

Lighthouse at Alexandria 27 

Ptolemy Soter (Lagus) 31 

The Dom Palm 35 

Street scene in Cairo 39 

A silhouette on the Nile 40 

Environs of Luxor 43 

Crocodiles basking in the sun 44 

A Theban Belle 49 

Tombs of the Sacred Bulls 52 

The God Serapis 55 

Manuscript on papyrus in Hieroglyphics, Thebes 56 

Alexander adoring Horns 57 

On the coast of the Red Sea . 63 

Fagade of the Palace of Darius, Persepolis 69 

Palm and sycamore : an Egyptian contrast ...... 75 

Alexandrian lady, attired in Bombyx silk ....... 81 

Coin of Ptolemy Soter, b. c. 302 82 

Coin of Soter, with Jupiter ......... 83 

The Chariot of Antiphilus 92 

Berenice Soter ............ 95 

Nit, Goddess of Sals 98 

A Cat Mummy 99 




Ptolemy II. and his first wife 

Pharos in Old Alexandria . 

Bronze cosmetic holder 

Osiris and Isis and the four children of Horus within a shrine 

View of Aswan ..... 

Rosetta branch of the Nile 

Temple of Phil* .... 

Anubis, god of the lower world . 

At the head of the Red Sea 

Dahabieh descending the Nile . 

The first cataract on the Nile at Aswan (Syene) 

An athlete disporting on a crocodile . 

Modern sphinx-like face 

Method of Egyptian draftsmanship . 

Coin with heads of Soter and Berenice ; and Philadelphus and 

Coin with heads of Soter, Philadelphus, and Berenice 

Coin of Arsinoe, sister of Ptolemy II. 

A typical Nile pilot .... 

Ptolemaic temple at Kom Ombo 

Statue of Neith ..... 

An Abyssinian slave .... 

Gate at Karnak ..... 

Ruins of Sa'is ..... 

Gateway of Ptolemy Euergetes at Karnak 

Coin of Ptolemy III. .... 

Coin of Berenice, wife of Ptolemy III. 

Temple of Hathor .... 

Coin of Ptolemy Philopator 

Coin of Arsinoe Philopator 

Roman coin, issued under Ptolemy V. 

The Rosetta Stone (British Museum) 

Outside Rosetta ..... 

A desert road between Egypt and Syria 

Coin of Ptolemy V. Epiphanes . 

Temple of Antseopolis 

Ship on the Nile .... 

Temple of Hermonthis 

Garden near Heliopolis 

Temple of Apollinopolis Magnus 

The Apotheosis of Homer . 

Hero's rotating steam-engine 

Coin of Ptolemy V. . 






Temple of Hathor at Philae .... 

Colored reliefs carved in the Great Temple at Philae 

Obelisk at Heliopolis . 

Nilometer at Rhodha . 

Temple of Kom Ombo 

Temple Portico at Contra-Latopolis 

Coin of Cleopatra and Alexander 

Coin of Cleopatra and Alexander with eagles 

The Memnoninm at Thebes 

Coin of Ptolemy Lathyrus and Selene 

Horus on the crocodiles, Bulak Museum 

Religious procession on the Nile 

Egyptian funeral ceremonies 

Mummy-cases and casket . 

Development of Egyptian caricature 

The mines of Magharah 

Vocal statue of Memnon 

The Sphinx 

Bearer of evil tidings 

Cleopatra on the Cydnus 

Pillar of Pompey at Alexandria 

Ruins of Her month is 

Cleopatra before Julius Caesar . 

Egyptian picture of Cleopatra . 

Coin of Cleopatra and Antony . 

Later coin of Cleopatra and Antony 

Consular coin of Antony . 

Greek picture of Cleopatra 

Grand column at Karnak . 

Cleopatra's Needle 

Graeco-Egyptian column 









Alexander the Great in Egypt — Alexandria founded — The 
G-reeJcs favour the Jews — Ptolemy Soter establishes himself in 
Egypt and overcomes Perdiccas — Struggles for Syria — Beginning of 
Egyptian coinage — Art and Scholarship — Ptolemy resigns in favour 
of his son Philadelphus — First treaty with Rome — Building of the 
Pharos — Growth of Commerce — Encouragement of Learning — The 
library of Alexandria — Euclid the geometer — Poets, astronomers, 
historians, and critics — The Septuagint — Marriage of Philadelphus 
to his sister Arsinoe — Ptolemy Euergetes plunders Asia — Egyptian 
temples enlarged — Religious tolerance — Annual tribute of the Jews — 
Eratosthenes the astronomer — Philosophy and Science — Culmination 
of Ptolemaic rule — The dynasty declines under Philopator — Syrians 
invade Egypt ; Philopator retaliates ; visits Jerusalem — The Jews 
persecuted — The hinges follies — Riots at Alexandria — Inglorious 
end of Philopator — The young Ptolemy Epiphanes protected by 
Rome — Military revolt suppressed — Coronation of Epiphanes — The 
Rosetta Stone — Marriage of Epiphanes and Cleopatra, daughter of 
Antiochus the Great — A second rebellion repressed — Accession of 
Ptolemy Philometer under the guardianship of Cleopatra — Antiochus 
Epiphanes defeats Philometer — Euergetes seizes the throne and appeals 
to Rome — Antiochus supports Philometor against his brother Euergetes 

( 2 ) 

— The brothers combine against Antiochus — Fraternal rivalry — 
Philometer appeals to the Romans who adjust the quarrel — Philo- 
meter arbitrates in a dispute between the Jews and the Samaritans — 
New temples built — Egyptian asceticism — Philometer } s death ; Euer- 
getes reigns alone, and divorces his queen Cleopatra — Popular tumult 
in Alexandria — Euergetes flees — Cleopatra in power — Euergetes 
regains the throne ; conquers Syria and makes peace with Cleopatra — 
The reign of Cleopatra Cocce with Lathy rus (Ptolemy Soter II.) — 
Cleopatra in the ascendent — She helps the Jews, while Lathyrus helps 
the Samaritans — Lathyrus flees to Cyprus — Ptolemy Alexander I 
rules with Cleopatra — Death of Alexander and restoration of Lathyrus 

— Accession of Cleopatra Berenice — Ptolemy Alexander II. bequeaths 
Egypt to Pome, murders Berenice, and is slain by his guards — Auletes 
succeeds — The Romans claim Egypt — Pompey assists Auletes who is 
expelled by the Egyptians — Cleopatra Tryphozna and Berenice placed 
on the throne — Grabinius and Mark Antony march into Egypt and 
restore Auletes — The reign of Cleopatra — Pompey made governor — 
The Egyptian fleet aids Pompey — Pompey is slain — Cossar besieged by 
the Alexandrians — He overcomes opposition, is captivated by Cleopatra 
and establishes her authority — The Queen's extravagance — Defeat of 
Antony — Death of Cleopatra — Octavianus annexes Egypt. 





"\XTHEN Alexander the Great bridged the gulf divid- 
ing Occident and Orient, the Greeks had attained to 
a state of maturity in the development of their national 
art and literature. Greek culture and civilisation, pass- 
ing beyond the boundaries of their national domain, 
crossed this bridge and spread over the Asiatic world. 
To perpetuate his name, the great Macedonian king 
founded a city, and selected for this purpose, with ex- 
traordinary prescience, a spot on the banks of the Nile, 
which, on account of its geographical position, was des- 
tined to become a centre, not only of international com- 
merce and an entrepot between Asia and Europe, but 
also a centre of intellectual culture. The policy of Al- 
exander to remove the barriers between the Greeks and 
the Asiatics, and to pave the way for the union of the 
races of his vast empire, was continued by the Lagidse 
dynasty in Egypt. With her independence and native 
dynasties, Egypt had also lost her political strength and 


unity; she retained, however, her ancient institutions, 
her customs, and religious system. The sway of Per- 
sian dominion had passed over her without overthrowing 
this huge rock of sacerdotal power which, deeply rooted 
with many ramifications, seemed to mock the wave of 
time. Out of the ruins of political independence still 
towered the monuments of civilisation of a mighty past 
which gave to this country moral independence, and 
prevented the obliteration of nationality. It would have 
mattered very little in the vast empire of Alexander 
if one province had a special physiognomy. It was dif- 
ferent, however, with the Lagidae : their power was con- 
centrated in Egypt, and they were therefore compelled 
to obliterate the separation existing between the con- 
quering and the conquered races, and fuse them, if pos- 
sible, into one. A great obstacle which confronted the 
Macedonian rulers in Egypt was the religion of the coun- 
try. The interest and the policy of the Lagidae de- 
manded the removal of this obstacle, not by force but 
by diplomacy. Greek gods were therefore identified with 
Egyptian; Phtah became Hephsestos; Thot, Hermes; 
Ra, Helios; Amon, Zeus; and, in consequence of a dream 
which commanded him to offer adoration to a foreign 
god, Ptolemy Soter created a new Greek god who was 
of Egyptian origin. Osiris at that period was the great 
god of Egypt; Memphis was the religious centre of the 
cult of Apis, the representative of Osiris, and who, when 
living, was called Apis-Osiris, and when dead Osiris- 
Apis. Cambyses had killed the god or his representative : 
it was a bad move. Alexander made sacrifices to him: 


Ptolemy Soter did more. He endeavoured to persuade 
the Egyptians that Osirapi or Osiris- Apis was also sa- 
cred to the Greeks, and to identify him with some Greek 
divinity. There was a Greek deity known as Serapis, 
identified with Pluton, the god of Hades. Serapis, by a 
clever manoeuvre, a coup de religion, was identified with 
Osiris- Apis. The lingual similarity and the fact that 
Osirapi was the god of the Egyptian Hades made the 
identification acceptable. 

Like true Greek princes, the Ptolemies had broad 
views and were very tolerant. Keeping the Greek re- 
ligion themselves, they were favourably disposed towards 
the creeds of other nationalities under their dominion. 
Thanks to this broad-mindedness and tolerance which 
had become traditional in the Lagidse family, and which 
has only rarely been imitated — to the detriment of 
civilisation — in the history of European dynasties, Ori- 
ental and Hellenic culture could flourish side by side. 
This benign government attracted many scholars, scien- 
tists, poets, and philosophers. Alexandria became the 
intellectual metropolis of the world; and it might truly 
be said to have been the Paris of antiquity. At the 
courts of the Ptolemies, the Medicis of Egypt, the great- 
est men of the age lived and taught. Demetrius Phale- 
rius, one of the most learned and cultured men of an age 
of learning and knowledge, when driven from his lux- 
urious palace at Athens, found hospitality at the court 
of Ptolemy Soter. The foundation of the famous Mu- 
seion and library of Alexandria was most probably due 
to his influence. He advised the first Ptolemy to found 


a building where poets, scholars, and philosophers would 
have facilities for study, research, and speculation. The 
Museion was similar in some respects to the Academy 
of Plato. It was an edifice where scholars lived and 
worked together. Mental qualification was the only 
requirement for admission. Nationality and creed were 
no obstacles to those whose learning rendered them 
worthy of becoming members of this ideal academy and 
of being received among the immortals of antiquity. 
The Museion was in no sense a university, but an acad- 
emy for the cultivation of the higher branches of learn- 
ing. It might be compared in some respects to the Col- 
lege de France, or regarded as a development of the 
system under which scholars had already lived and 
worked together in the Ramesseum under Ramses II. 
The generosity of the Lagidae provided amply for this 
new centre of learning and study. Free from worldly 
cares, the scholars could leisurely gather information and 
hand down to posterity the fruits of their researches. 
From all parts of the world men flocked to this centre 
of fashionable learning, the birthplace of modern science. 
All that was brilliant and cultured, all the coryphees in 
the domain of intellect, were attracted by that splendid 

In the shade of the Museion a brilliant assembly 
—Ptolemy, Euclid, Hipparchus, Apollonius, and Era- 
tosthenes—made great discoveries and added materi- 
ally to the sum of human knowledge. Here Euclid 
wrote his immortal " Elements; " and Herophilos, the 
father of surgery, added valuable information to the 


knowledge of anatomy. The art and process of embalm- 
ing, in such vogue among the Egyptians, naturally fos- 
tered the advance of this science. Whilst Alexandria 
in abstract speculation could not rival Greece, yet it 
became the home of the pioneers of positive science, 
who left a great and priceless legacy to modern civilisa- 
tion. The importance of this event (the foundation of 
the Museion), says Draper, in his Intellectual Develop- 
ment of Europe, though hitherto little understood, ad- 
mits of no exaggeration so far as the intellectual progress 
of Europe is concerned. The Museum made an im- 
pression upon the intellectual career of Europe so 
powerful and enduring that we still enjoy its results. 
If the purely literary productions of that age have 
sometimes been looked upon with contempt, European 
intellectual culture is still greatly indebted to Alex- 
andria, and especially for the patronage she accorded 
to the works of Aristotle. Whilst the speculative mind 
was in later centuries allured by the supernatural, and 
the discussion of the criterion of truth and the principles 
of morality ended in the mystic doctrines of Neo-Plato- 
nism, the practical tendencies of the great Alexandrine 
scholars were instrumental in laying the foundations 
of science. To the Museion were attached the libraries: 
one in the Museion itself, and another in the quarter 
Rhacotis in the temple of Serapis, which contained about 
700,000 volumes. New books were continually acquired. 
The librarians had orders to pay any sum for the orig- 
inal of the works of great masters. The Ptolemies were 
not only patrons of learning but were themselves highly 


educated. Ptolemy Soter was an historian of no mean 
talent, and his son Philadelphia, as a pupil of the poet 
Philetas and the philosopher Strabo, was a man of great 
learning. Ptolemy III. was a mathematician, and Ptol- 
emy Philopator, who had erected and dedicated a temple 
to Homer, was the writer of a tragedy. The efforts of 
the Ptolemies to bring the two nationalities, Hellenic 
and Egyptian, nearer to each other, to mould and weld 
them into one if possible, to mix and mingle the two 
civilisations and thus strengthen their own power, was 
greatly aided by the national character of the Greeks and 
the political position of the Egyptians. 

The Greeks found in Egypt a national culture and 
especially a religious system. The pliant Hellenic genius 
could not remain insensible to that ancient and marvel- 
lous civilisation with its sphinxes and hieroglyphics, its 
pyramids and temples, its learning and thought, so 
strangely perplexing and interesting to the Greek mind. 
Not only the magnificence of Egyptian art, the majesty 
of her temples and palaces, but the wisdom of her social 
and political institutions impressed the conquerors. 
They made themselves acquainted with the institutions 
of the country; they studied its history and took an in- 
terest in its religion and mythology. Similarly, the con- 
quered Egyptians, who had preferred the Macedonian 
ruler to their Persian oppressors, exhibited a natural 
desire to learn the languages and habits of their rulers, 
to make themselves acquainted with their knowledge and 
phases of thought, and art and science. The interest of 
the Greeks was strengthened by this, and the Egyptians 



were made to see their history in its proper light. To 
this endeavour we owe the history of Manetho. But, 
in spite of the policy of the Ptolemies, the impressionable 
nature of the Hellenic character and the interest of the 
Egyptians,— in spite of all that tended to a fusion of 
Hellenism and Orientalism, it never came to a proper 
amalgamation. The contradiction between the free- 
thought philosophy of Greece, which was fast outgrow- 
ing its polytheism and Olympian worship, and the deeply 
rooted sacerdotal system of the Pharaonian institutions, 
was too great and too flagrant. Thus there never was an 
Egypto-Hellenic phase of thought. But there was an- 
other civilisation of great antiquity, possessing peculiar 
features, not less interesting for the Greek mind than 
that of Egypt itself, with which Hellenism found itself 
face to face in the ancient land of the Pharaohs. It was 
the civilisation of Judaea, between which and Greek 
thought a greater fusion was effected. 


From time immemorial the Hebrew race, with all its 
conservative tendencies in religious matters, has been 
amenable to the influence of foreign culture and civili- 
sation. Egypt and Phoenicia, Babylonia and Assyria, 
Hellas and Rome have exercised an immense influence 
over it. It still is and always has been endeavouring to 
bring into harmony the exclusiveness of its national 
religion, with a desire to adopt the habits, culture, lan- 
guage, and manners of its neighbours; an attempt in 


which it may be apparently successful, for a certain 
period at least, but which must always have a tragic end. 
It is impossible to be conservative and progressive at 
the same time, to be both national and cosmopolitan. 
The attempts to reconcile religious formalism and free 
reasoning have never succeeded in the history of human 
thought. It soon led to the conviction that one factor 
must be sacrificed, and, as soon as this was perceived, 
the party of zealots was quickly at hand to preach reac- 
tion. In the times of the successors of Alexander, the 
Diadoehae and Epigones, the Seleucidae and the Lagidae, 
who had divided the vast dominion among them, Greek 
influence had spread all over Palestine. Greek towns 
were founded, theatres and gymnasia established; Greek 
art was admired and her philosophy studied. The Hel- 
lenic movement was paramount, and the aristocratic 
families did their best to further it. Even the high 
priests, like Jason and Menelaos, who were supposed to 
be the guardians of the national exclusive movement, 
favoured Greek culture and institutions. 

In the mother country, however, the germ of reaction 
was always very strong. A constant opposition was 
directed against the influx of foreign modes of life and 
thought, which effaced and obliterated the intellectual 
movement. It was different, however, in the other 
countries of Macedonian dominion, and especially in 
Egypt. Alexander the Great, who seems to have been 
favourably inclined towards the Jews, settled a number 
of them in Alexandria. His policy was kept up by the 
descendants of Lagos, that great general of Alexander, 



who made himself king of the province which was en- 
trusted to the care of his administration. Egypt became 
the resort of many refugees from Judaea, who gradually 
came under the influence of the dazzling Greek thought 
and culture, so new and therefore so attractive to the 
Semitic mind. Hellenism and Hebraism had known each 
other for some time, for Phoenician merchants and sea- 
farers had carried the seed of Oriental wisdom to the 
distant west. The acquaintance, however, was a slight 
one. At the court of the Ptolemies, on the threshold of 
Europe and Asia, they met at last. On the shores of the 
Mediterranean, on the soil where lay the traces of the 
ancient Egyptian civilisation, in the silent avenues of 
mysterious sphinxes, amongst hieroglyphic-covered obe- 
lisks, Greek and Hebrew thought stood face to face. The 
two civilisations embodied the principles of the Beautiful 
and the Sublime, of Morality and iEstheticism, of relig- 
ious and philosophic speculation. The result of this 
meeting marks a glorious page in the annals of human 
thought. Among the monuments of a great historic past, 
the speculative spirit of the East made love to the plastic 
beauty of the West, until, at last, they were united in 
happy union. Hellenic taste and sense of beauty and 
Semitic speculation not only evolved side by side in 
Egypt but mixed and commingled; their thoughts were 
intertwined and interwoven, giving rise to a new intel- 
lectual movement, a new philosophy of thought: the 
Judseo-Hellenic. Alexandrian culture, during the reign 
of the Ptolemies, is the offspring of a mixed marriage 
between two parents belonging to two widely different 


races, and, as a cross breed, is endowed with many quali- 
ties. It had the seriousness of the one parent and the 
delicacy of the other. 

The Ptolemies encouraged the movement towards fu- 
sion. The result was that the Jews in Egypt, not being 
hampered by reactionary endeavours from the side of 
conservative parties, and with an adaptability peculiar 
to their race, soon acquired the language of the people 
in whose midst they dwelt. They conversed and wrote in 
Greek; they moulded and shaped their own thoughts 
into Greek form ; they clothed the Semitic mode of think- 
ing in Hellenic garb. The immediate result was the trans- 
lation of the Pentateuch into Greek. Vanity, of which 
no individual or race is free, had embellished this literary 
production, which has acquired a high degree of impor- 
tance alike among Jews and Christians, with many 
legends. This translation, known as the Septuaginta 
(LXX), was followed by independent histories relating 
to Biblical events. One of the best known authors is the 
chronographer Demetrius, who lived in the second half 
of the third century, and whose work Flavius Josephus 
is supposed to have utilised. Not to speak of the Greek 
authors in Judaea and Syria, we may mention Artapanos, 
who, following the fashion of the day, wrote history in 
the form of a romance, and showed traces of an apolo- 
getic character. He endeavoured to attribute all that 
was great in Egyptian civilisation to Moses. This was 
due to the fact that Manetho, the Egyptian historian, and 
others following his example, had spread fables and ven- 
omous tales about the ancient sojourn and exodus of the 



Hebrews and their leader. To counterbalance these ac- 
cusations, fables had to be interwoven into history, and 
history became romance. Moses was thus identified with 
Hermes, and made out to be the father of Egyptian wis- 
dom. But, if the close acquaintanceship of Hebraism 
and Hellenism began with a mere flirtation, encouraged 
by the rulers of the land and kept up by the Jews, who 
wished to gain the favour of the conquering race and 
to show themselves and their history in as favourable 
a light as possible, it soon ended in a serious attachment. 
The Hebrews made themselves acquainted with Hellenic 
life and thought. They studied Homer and Hesiod, Em- 
pedocles and Parmenides, Plato and Aristotle, and they 
were startled by the discovery that in Greek thought 
there were many elements, moral and religious, familiar 
to them: this enhanced the attraction. The narrowness 
and exclusiveness to which strict nationality always 
gives rise, engendering contempt and hatred for every- 
thing foreign— which made even the Greeks, with all 
their intellectual culture, draw a line of demarcation 
between Greek and barbarian— gave way to a spirit of 
cosmopolitan breadth of view which has only very rarely 
been equalled in history. Hellenic and Hebrew forms 
of thought were brought into friendly union, and gave 
birth to ideas and aspirations of which humanity may 
always be proud. Greek aesthetic judgment and Semitic 
mysticism, different phases of thought in themselves, 
were welded into one. The religious conceptions of 
Moses and the Prophets were expressed in the language 
of the philosophical schools; an attempt was made to 


bring into harmony the dogmas of supernatural revela- 
tion and the fruits of human speculative thought. Such 
an attempt is a great undertaking, for, if sincerely and 
relentlessly pursued, it must end in breaking down the 
barriers of separation, in the establishment of a common 
truth, and in the sacrifice of cherished ideals and con- 
victions which prove to be wrong. If carried to its log- 
ical conclusion, such a cosmopolitan broad-mindedness, 
such a cross-fertilisation of intellectual products, must 
give rise to the ennobling idea that there is only one 
truth, and that the external forms are only fleeting waves 
upon the vast ocean of human ideals. The attempt was 
made in Alexandria by the Judaeo-Hellenic philosophers. 
Unfortunately, however, the Hebrews, with all their 
adaptability, have not yet carried this attempt to its 
logical conclusion. The spirit of reaction has ever and 
anon been ready to crush in its infancy the endeavour of 
truth and sincerity, of broad-mindedness and tolerance. 
When placed before the question to be or not to be, to 
be logical or illogical, it has chosen the latter, and 
striven after the impossible: the reconciliation of what 
cannot be reconciled without alterations, rejections, and 
selections. The happy marriage of Hellenism and He- 
braism in Egypt had a tragic end. The union was dis- 
solved, not, however, without having produced its issue: 
the Alexandrian culture, which was carried to Rome 
by Philo Judseus, and thus influenced later European 
thought and humanity at large. 




Alexander the Great. — Cleomenes. — B. C. 332-323 

THE way for the 
Grecian con- 
quest of Egypt had 
been preparing for 
many years. Ever 
since the memora- 
ble march of Xeno- 
phon, who led, in 
the face of un- 
known difficulties, 
ten t housand 
Greeks across Asia 
Minor, the Greek 
statesman had sus- 
Hellenic soldier was capable 
of undreamed possibilities. 



When the young Alexander, succeeding his father 
Philip on the throne of Macedonia, got himself appointed 
general by the chief of the Greek states, and marched 
against Darius Codomanus, King of Persia, at the head 
of the allied armies, it was not difficult to foresee the 
result. The Greeks had learned the weakness of the Per- 
sians by having been so often hired to fight for them. 
For a century past, every Persian army had had a body 
of ten or twenty thousand Greeks in the van, and with- 
out this guard the Persians were like a flock of sheep 
without the shepherd's dog. Those countries which had 
trusted to Greek mercenaries to defend them could 
hardly help falling when the Greek states united for 
their conquest. 

Alexander defeated the Persians under Darius in a 
great and memorable battle near the town of Issus at 
the foot of the Taurus, at the pass which divides Syria 
from Asia Minor, and then, instead of marching upon 
Persia, he turned aside to the easier conquest of Egypt. 
On his way there he spent seven months in the siege of 
the wealthy city of Tyre, and he there punished with 
death every man capable of carrying arms, and made 
slaves of the rest. He was then stopped for some time 
before the little town of Gaza, where Batis, the brave 
governor, had the courage to close the gates against the 
Greek army. His angry fretfulness at being checked 
by so small a force was only equalled by his cruelty when 
he had overcome it; he tied Batis by the heels to his 
chariot, and dragged him round the walls of the city, as 
Achilles had dragged the body of Hector. 


On the seventh day after leaving Gaza he reached Pe- 
lusium, the most easterly town in Egypt, after a march 
of one hundred and seventy miles along the coast of the 
Mediterranean, through a parched, glaring desert which 
forms the natural boundary of the country; while the 
fleet kept close to the shore to carry the stores for the 
army, as no fresh water is to be met with on the line of 
march. The Egyptians did not even try to hide their 
joy at his approach; they were bending very unwillingly 
under the heavy and hated yoke of Persia. The Persians 
had long been looked upon as their natural enemies, and 
in the pride of their success had added insults to the other 
evils of being governed by the satrap of a conqueror. 
They had not even gained the respect of the conquered 
by their warlike courage, for Egypt had in a great part 
been conquered and held by Greek mercenaries. 

The Persian forces had been mostly withdrawn from 
the country by Sabaces, the satrap of Egypt, to be led 
against Alexander in Asia Minor, and had formed part 
of the army of Darius when he was beaten near the town 
of Issus on the coast of Cilicia. The garrisons were not 
strong enough to guard the towns left in their charge; 
the Greek fleet easily overpowered the Egyptian fleet in 
the harbour of Pelusium, and the town opened its gates 
to Alexander. Here he left a garrison, and, ordering his 
fleet to meet him at Memphis, he marched along the riv- 
er's bank to Heliopolis. All the towns, on his approach, 
opened their gates to him. Mazakes, who had been left 
without an army, as satrap of Egypt, when Sabaces led 
the troops into Asia Minor, and who had heard of the 


death of Sabaces, and that Alexander was master of Phoe- 
nicia, Syria, and the north of Arabia, had no choice but 
to yield. The Macedonian army crossed the Nile near 
Heliopolis, and then entered Memphis. 

Memphis had long been the chief city of all Egypt, 
even when not the seat of government. In earlier ages, 
when the warlike virtues of the Thebans had made Egypt 
the greatest kingdom in the world, Memphis and the low- 
land corn-fields of the Delta paid tribute to Thebes; but, 
with the improvements in navigation, the cities on the 
coast rose in importance; the navigation of the Red Sea, 
though always dangerous, became less dreaded, and 
Thebes lost the toll on the carrying trade of the Nile. 
Wealth alone, however, would not have given the sov- 
ereignty to Lower Egypt, had not the Greek mercenaries 
been at hand to fight for those who would pay them. The 
kings of Sais had guarded their thrones with Greek 
shields; and it was on the rash but praiseworthy attempt 
of Amasis to lessen the power of these mercenaries that 
they joined Cambyses, and Egypt became a Persian prov- 
ince. In the struggles of the Egyptians to throw off the 
Persian yoke, we see little more than the Athenians and 
Spartans carrying on their old quarrels on the coasts and 
plains of the Delta; and the Athenians, who counted 
their losses by ships, not by men, said that in their vic- 
tories and defeats together Egypt had cost them two 
hundred triremes. Hence, when Alexander, by his suc- 
cesses in Greece, had put a stop to the feuds at home, 
the mercenaries of both parties flocked to his conquering 
standard, and he found himself on the throne of Upper 





and Lower Egypt without any struggle being made 
against him by the Egyptians. The Greek part of the 
population, who had been living in Egypt as foreigners, 
now found themselves masters. Egypt became at once a 
Greek kingdom, as though the blood and language of 
the people were changed at the conqueror's bidding. 

Alexander's character as a triumphant general gains 
little from this easy conquest of an unwarlike country, 
and the overthrow of a crumbling monarchy. But as the 
founder of a new Macedonian state, and for reuniting 
the scattered elements of society in Lower Egypt after 
the Persian conquest, in the only form in which a gov- 
ernment could be made to stand, he deserves to be placed 

among the least mischievous of 
conquerors. We trace his march, 
not by the ruin, misery, and anar- 
chy which usually follow in the rear 
of an army, but by the building 
of new cities, the more certain ad- 
ministration of justice, the revival 
of trade, and the growth of learn- 
ing. On reaching Memphis, his 
first care was to prove to the Egyp- 
tians that he was come to re-estab- 
lish their ancient monarchy. He 
went in state to the temple of Apis, 
phtah, the god of Memphis. anc i sacrificed to the sacred bull, 
as the native kings had done at their coronations; and 
gained the good-will of the crowd by games and music, 
performed by skilful Greeks for their amusement. 


But though the temple of Phtah at Memphis, in 
which the state ceremonies were performed, had risen in 
beauty and importance by the repeated additions of the 
later kings, who had fixed the seat of government in 
Lower Egypt, yet the Sun, or Amon-Ra, or Kneph-Ra, 
the god of Thebes, or Jupiter- Ammon, as he was called 
by the Greeks, was the god under whose spreading wings 
Egypt had seen its proudest days. Every Egyptian king 
had called himself " the son of the Sun; " those who had 
reigned at Thebes had boasted that they were " beloved 
by Amon-Ra; " and when Alexander ordered the ancient 
titles to be used towards himself, he wished to lay his 
offerings in the temple of this god, and to be acknowl- 
edged by the priests as his son. As a reader of Homer, 
and the pupil of Aristotle, he must have wished to see 
the wonders of " Egyptian Thebes," the proper place 
for this ceremony; and it could only have been because, 
as a general, he had not time for a march of five hundred 
miles, that he chose the nearer and less known temple of 
Kneph-Ra, in the oasis of Ammon, one hundred and 
eighty miles from the coast. 

Accordingly, he floated down the river from Memphis 
to the sea, taking with him the light-armed troops and 
the royal band of knights-companions. When he reached 
Canopus, he sailed westward along the coast, and landed 
at Rhacotis, a small village on the spot where Alexandria 
now stands. Here he made no stay; but, as he passed 
through it, he must have seen at a glance, for he was 
never there a second time, that the place was formed by 
nature to be a great harbour, and that with a little help 



from art it would be the port of all Egypt. The mouths 
of the Nile were too shallow for the ever increasing size 
of the merchant vessels which were then being built; and 
the engineers found the deeper water which was wanted, 
between the village of Rhacotis and the little island of 
Pharos. It was all that he had seen and admired at Tyre, 
but it was on a larger scale and with deeper water. It 
was the very spot that he was in search of; in every way 
suitable for the Greek colony which he proposed to found 
as the best means of keeping Egypt in obedience. Even 
before the time of Homer, the island of Pharos had 
given shelter to the Greek traders on that coast. He 
gave his orders to Dinocrates the architect to improve 
the harbour, and to lay down the plan of his new city; 
and the success of the undertaking proved the wisdom 
both of the statesman and of the builder, for the city 
of Alexandria subsequently became the most famous of 
all the commercial and intellectual centres of antiquity. 

Prom Rhacotis Alexander marched along the coast to 
Paraetonium, a distance of about two hundred miles 
through the desert; and there, or on his way there, he 
was met by the ambassadors from Cyrene, who were sent 
with gifts to beg for peace, and to ask him to honour 
their city with a visit. Alexander graciously received 
the gifts of the Cyrenaeans, and promised them his friend- 
ship, but could not spare time to visit their city; and, 
without stopping, he turned southward to the oasis. 

At Memphis Alexander received the ambassadors that 
came from Greece to wish him joy of his success; he 
reviewed his troops, and gave out his plans for the 


government of the kingdom. He threw bridges of boats 
over the Nile at the ford below Memphis, and also over 
the several branches of the river. He divided the country 
into two nomarchies or judgeships, and to fill these two 
offices of nomarchs or chief judges, the highest civil 
offices in the kingdom, he chose Doloaspis and Petisis, 
two Egyptians. Their duty was to watch over the due 
administration of justice, one in Upper and the other in 
Lower Egypt, and perhaps to hear appeals from the lower 

He left the garrisons in the command of his own 
Greek generals; Pantaleon commanded the counts, or 
knights-companions, who garrisoned Memphis, and Pole- 
mon was governor of Pelusium. These were the chief 
fortresses in the kingdom: Memphis overlooked the 
Delta, the navigation of the river, and the pass to Upper 
Egypt; Pelusium was the harbour for the ships of war, 
and the frontier town on the only side on which Egypt 
could be attacked. The other cities were given to other 
governors; Licidas commanded the mercenaries, Peu- 
cestes and Balacrus the other troops, Eugnostus was 
secretary, while iEschylus and Ephippus were left as 
overlookers, or perhaps, in the language of modern gov- 
ernments, as civil commissioners. Apollonius was made 
prefect of Libya, of which district Paraetonium was the 
capital, and Cleomenes prefect of Arabia at Heroopolis, 
in guard of that frontier. Orders were given to all these 
generals that justice was to be administered by the Egyp- 
tian nomarchs according to the common law or ancient 
customs of the land. Petisis, however, either never 



entered upon his office or soon quitted it, and Doloaspis 
was left nomarch of all Egypt. 

Alexander sent into the Thebaid a body of seven thou- 
sand Samaritans, whose quarrels with the Jews made 
them wish to leave their own country. He gave them 
lands to cultivate on the banks of the Nile which had 
gone out of cultivation with the gradual decline of Upper 
Egypt; and he employed them to guard the province 
against invasion or rebellion. He did not stay in Egypt 
longer than was necessary to give these orders, but 
hastened towards the Euphrates to meet Darius. In his 
absence Egypt remained quiet and happy. Peucestes 
soon followed him to Babylon with some of the troops 
that had been left in Egypt; and Cleomenes, the gov- 
ernor of Heroopolis, was then made collector of the taxes 
and prefect of Egypt. Cleomenes was a bad man; he 
disobeyed the orders sent from Alexander on the Indus, 
and he seems to have forgotten the mild feelings which 
guided his master; yet, upon the whole, after the galling 
yoke of the Persians, the Egyptians must have felt grate- 
ful for the blessings of justice and good government. 

At one time, when passing through the Thebaid in 
his barge on the Mle, Cleomenes was wrecked, and one 
of his children bitten by a crocodile. On this plea, he 
called together the priests, probably of Crocodilopolis, 
where this animal was held sacred, and told them that 
he intended to revenge himself upon the crocodiles by 
having them all caught and killed; and he was only 
bought off from carrying his threat into execution by the 
priests giving him all the treasure that they could get 


together. Alexander had left orders that the great 
market should be moved from Canopus to his new city 
of Alexandria, as soon as it should be ready to receive 
it. As the building went forward, the priests and rich 
traders of Canopus, in alarm at losing the advantages 
of their port, gave Cleomenes a large sum of money for 
leave to keep their market open. This sum he took, and, 
when the building at Alexandria was finished, he again 
came to Canopus, and because the traders would not or 
could not raise a second and larger sum, he carried Alex- 
ander's orders into execution, and closed the market of 
their city. 

But instances such as these, of a public officer making 
use of dishonest means to increase the amount of the 
revenue which it was his duty to collect, might unfor- 
tunately be found even in countries which were for the 
most part enjoying the blessings of wise laws and good 
government; and it is not probable that, while Alexander 
was with the army in Persia, the acts of fraud and wrong 
should have been fewer in his own kingdom of Mace- 
donia. The dishonesty of Cleomenes was indeed equally 
shown toward the Macedonians, by his wish to cheat 
the troops out of part of their pay. The pay of the sol- 
diers was due on the first day of each month, but on that 
day he took care to be out of the way, and the soldiers 
were paid a few days later; and by doing the same on 
each following month, he at length changed the pay-day 
to the last day of the month, and cheated the army out 
of a whole month's pay. 

Another act for which Cleomenes was blamed was not 




so certainly wrong. One summer, when the harvest had 
been less plentiful than usual, he forbade the export of 
grain, which was a large part of the trade of Egypt, 
thereby lowering the price to the poor so far as they 
could afford to purchase such costly food, but injuring 
the landowners. On this, the heads of the provinces sent 
to him in alarm, to say that they should not be able to 
get in the usual amount of tribute ; he therefore allowed 


the export as usual, but raised the duty; and he was 
reproached for receiving a larger revenue while the land- 
owners were suffering from a smaller crop. 

At Ecbatana, the capital of Media, Alexander lost 
his friend Hephaestion, and in grief for his death he sent 
to Egypt to enquire of the oracle at the temple of Kneph 
in the oasis of Amnion, what honours he might pay to 
the deceased. The messengers brought him an answer, 
that he might declare Hephaestion a demigod, and order 
that he should be worshipped. Accordingly, Alexander 


then sent an express command to Cleomenes that he 
should build a temple to his lost favourite in his new 
city of Alexandria, and that the lighthouse which was 
to be built on the island of Pharos should be named after 
him; and as modern insurances against risks by sea usu- 
ally begin with the words " In the name of God; 
Amen; " so all contracts between merchants in the port 
of Alexandria were to be written solemnly " In the name 
of Hephaestion.' 1 Feeling diffident of enforcing obedience 
at the mouth of the Nile, while he was himself writing 
from the sources of the Indus, he added that if, when he 
came to Egypt he found his wish carried into effect, he 
would pardon Cleomenes for those acts of misgovernment 
of which he had been accused, and for any others which 
might then come to his ears. 

A somatophylax in the Macedonian army was no 
doubt at first, as the word means, one of the officers who 
had to answer for the king's safety; perhaps in modern 
language a colonel in the body-guards or household 
troops; but as, in unmixed monarchies, the faithful 
officer who was nearest the king's person, to whose 
watchfulness he trusted in the hour of danger, often 
found himself the adviser in matters of state, so, in the 
time of Alexander, the title of somatophylax was given 
to those generals on whose wisdom the king chiefly 
leaned, and by whose advice he was usually guided. 
Among these, and foremost in Alexander's love and es- 
teem, was Ptolemy, the son of Lagus. Philip, the father 
of Alexander, had given Arsinoe, one of his relations, 
in marriage to Lagus; and her eldest son Ptolemy, born 


soon after the marriage, was always thought to be the 
king's son, though never so acknowledged. As he grew 
up, he was put into the highest offices by Philip, without 
raising in the young Alexander's mind the distrust which 
might have been felt if Ptolemy could have boasted that 
he was the elder brother. He earned the good opinion of 
Alexander by his military successes in Asia, and gained 
his gratitude by saving his life when he was in danger 
among the Oxydracse, near the river Indus; and more- 
over, Alexander looked up to him as the historian whose 
literary powers and knowledge of military tactics were 
to hand down to the wonder of future ages those con- 
quests which he witnessed. 

Alexander's victories over Darius, and march to the 
river Indus, are no part of this history: it is enough to 
say that he died at Babylon eight years after he had 
entered Egypt; and his half-brother Philip Arridseus, 
a weak-minded, unambitious young man, was declared 
by the generals assembled at Babylon to be his successor. 
His royal blood united more voices in the army in his 
favour than the warlike and statesmanlike character of 
any one of the rival generals. They were forced to be 
content with sharing the provinces between them as his 
lieutenants; some hoping to govern by their power over 
the weak mind of Arridaeus, and others secretly meaning 
to make themselves independent. 

In this weighty matter, Ptolemy showed the wisdom 
and judgment which had already gained him his high 
character. Though his military rank and skill were equal 
to those of any one of Alexander's generals, and his claim 


by birth perhaps equal to that of Arridaeus, he was not 
one of those who aimed at the throne; nor did he even 
aim at the second place, but left to Perdiccas the regency, 
with the care of the king's person, in whose name that 
ambitious general vainly hoped to govern the whole of 
Alexander's conquests. But Ptolemy, more wisely meas- 
uring his strength with the several tasks, chose the prov- 
ince of Egypt, the province which, cut off as it was from 
the rest by sea and desert, was of all others the easiest 
to be held as an independent kingdom against the power 
of Perdiccas. When Egypt was given to Ptolemy by the 
council of generals, Cleomenes was at the same time and 
by the same power made second in command, and he 
governed Egypt for one year before Ptolemy's arrival, 
that being in name the first year of the reign of Philip 
Arridaeus, or, according to the chronologer's mode of 
dating, the first year after Alexander's death. 





Ptolemy governs Egypt, overcomes Perdiccas, and founds a dynasty. 

pTOLEMY LAGUS was one of those who, at the death 
of Alexander, had raised their voices against giving 
the whole of the conquered countries to one king; he 
wished that they should have been shared equally among 
the generals as independent kingdoms. In this he was 
overruled, and he accepted his government as the lieu- 
tenant of the youthful Philip Arridseus, though no doubt 
with the fixed purpose of making Egypt an independent 
kingdom. On reaching Memphis, the seat of his gov- 
ernment, his whole thoughts were turned towards 
strengthening himself against Perdiccas, who hoped to 
be obeyed, in the name of his young and weak-minded 
king, by all his fellow generals. 



The Greek and foreign mercenaries of which the 
army of Alexander was made up, and who were faithful 
to his memory and to his family, had little to guide them 
in the choice of which leader they should follow to his 
distant province, beside the thought of where they should 
be best treated; and Ptolemy's high character for wis- 
dom, generosity, and warlike skill had gained many 
friends for him among the officers; they saw that the 
wealth of Egypt would put it in his power to reward 
those whose services were valuable to him; and hence 
crowds flocked to his standard. On reaching their prov- 
inces, the Greek soldiers, whether Spartans or Athenians, 
forgetting the glories of Thermopylae and Marathon, and 
proud of their wider conquests under the late king, 
always called themselves Macedonians. They pleased 
themselves with the thought that the whole of the con- 
quered countries were still governed by the brother of 
Alexander; and no one of his generals, in his wildest 
thoughts of ambition, whether aiming, like Ptolemy, at 
founding a kingdom, or, like Perdiccas, at the govern- 
ment of the world, was unwise enough to throw off the 
title of lieutenant to Philip Arridaeus, and to forfeit the 
love of the Macedonian soldiers and his surest hold on 
their loyalty. 

The first act of Ptolemy was to put to death Cleom- 
enes, who had been made sub-governor of Egypt by the 
same council of generals which had made Ptolemy gov- 
ernor. This act may have been called for by the dis- 
honesty and crooked dealing which Cleomenes had been 
guilty of in collecting taxes; but, though the whole tenor 


of Ptolemy's life would seem to disprove the charge, we 
cannot but fear that he was in part led to this deed be- 
cause he looked upon Cleomenes as the friend of Per- 
diccas, or because he could not trust him in his plans for 
making himself king of Egypt. 

From the very commencement of his government, 
Ptolemy prepared for the war which he knew must fol- 
low a declaration of his designs. Perhaps better than 
any other general of Alexander, he knew how to win the 
favour of the people under his rule. The condition of 
the country quickly improved under his mild adminis- 
tration. The growing seaport of Alexandria was a good 
market for a country rich in natural produce, and, above 
all, Egypt's marvellously good geographical position 
stood her in good stead in time of war. Surrounded 
nearly on all sides by desert land, the few inhabitants, 
roving Bedouins, offered no danger. The land of the 
Nile was accessible to an enemy in one direction only, 
along the coast of Syria. This even teemed with diffi- 
culties. Transports there could only be managed with 
the greatest ingenuity, and, in case of defeat, retreat 
was almost impossible. On the other hand, the Egyptian 
army, helped by all the advantages of a land irrigated 
on the canal system, and which could be flooded at will, 
had only to act on the defensive to be certain of victory. 
The country is perhaps more open to an attack from the 
sea, but, by a moderately well-conducted defensive move- 
ment, the enemy could be kept to the coast. Even the 
landing there is scarcely possible, on account of the nat- 
ural difficulties at the mouth of the Nile. The one easy 


spot— Alexandria— was so well fortified that an invader 
had but little chance of success. 

About the time of Alexander's death (and to some 
extent brought about by this event), civil war broke out 
in Cyrenaica, in consequence of which the followers of 
one party were forced out of the town of Cyrene. These 
joined themselves with the exiles of the town of Barca, 
and together sought help of foreigners. They placed 
themselves under the leadership of the Spartan Thibron, 
formerly Alexander's chancellor of the exchequer. 
Begged by the exiled Cyrenians to help them, he now 
directed his forces against Libya, fought a fierce battle, 
and took possession of the harbour of Apollonia, two 
miles distant from the town. He then besieged the town 
of Cyrene, and forced the Cyrenians at last to sue for 
peace. They were obliged to make a payment of five 
hundred talents and to take back the exiles. Messengers 
were sent by Thibron to incite the other towns in Cy- 
renaica to join him and to help him conquer their 
neighbour, Libya. Thibron 's followers were allowed to 
plunder, and this led to quarrels, desertions, treacherous 
acts, and the recruiting of his army from the Peloponne- 
sus. After varying fortunes of war, in the spring of 322 
B. C, some of the Cyrenians fled to Egypt, and related 
to Ptolemy what had occurred in Cyrenaica, begging 
him to help them back to their homes. The suggestion 
was welcome to him, for victory would be easy over these 
struggling factions. He sent a strong military and naval 
force, under Ophelas, the Macedonian, to Cyrenaica in 
the summer. When these were seen approaching, those 



exiles who had found refuge with Thibron decided to 
join them. Their plan, however, was discovered, and 
they were put to death. The leader of the rabble in 
Cyrene (fearful for his own safety, now that the exiles 
who had fled to Egypt were returning) made overtures 
of peace to Thibron, and joined with him to repulse 
Ophelas. The latter worked with the utmost caution, 


sent an army under Epicides of Olynth against Tan- 
cheira, whilst he himself marched against Cyrene. He 
met Thibron in a fierce fight. The latter was completely 
defeated and fled towards Tancheira, where he hoped 
to find help, but instead fell into Epicides' hands. 
Thibron was given over to the people of Tancheira for 
punishment. He was cruelly scourged, and then dragged 
to Apollonia, where he was crucified. Ophelas, however, 
was not able to conquer the Cyrenians until Ptolemy 


himself arrived with fresh troops, overpowered the town 
and joined the province to his own satrapy. 

The conquest of this Greek province was a gain 
equally for himself and for the Greeks. He put an end 
to the horrible anarchy that prevailed there, and proved 
himself their saviour as well as their conqueror. His 
name was now an honoured one among all the Greeks. 
When it was rumoured that war was likelv to break out 
between Ptolemy and the royal party, the Macedonians 
flocked to Alexandria, " every man ready to give all and 
to sacrifice himself in order to help his friend." A pop- 
ular belief of the day was that, although Ptolemy was 
known as the son of Lagos, he was in reality the son of 
Philip, and indeed much in his manner resembled the 
great founder of the Macedonian power. Amongst the 
successors of Alexander, not one understood as well as 
he how to retain and increase the power which he had 
won. He recognised, also, from the first, the tendency 
of the age: the tendency to split up the kingdom into 
different states; and he had made this the basis of his 
policy. It was under him that the first state (in the new 
sense of the w r ord) was founded. He was the leader of 
the new movement that soon generated disunity, and to 
this end he made a secret contract with Antipatros 
against the regent Perdiccas. About this time also mis- 
understandings between the regent and the rulers in the 
West began to take a serious aspect. 

At a great meeting in Babylon in the summer of the 
year 323, it was decided that the body of Alexander was 
to be taken with great solemnity to the Temple of 


Amon, and that the equipping and guidance of the fu- 
neral procession should be entrusted to Arridaeus. At 
the end of the year 323, the necessary preparations were 
finished. The gigantic funeral car that was to carry the 
kingly bier had been decorated with unparalleled mag- 
nificence. Without waiting for orders from the regent, 
Arridaeus started with the funeral procession from 
Babylon. Crowds from far and near filled the streets, 
some curious to see the magnificent sight, others eager 
to show this last token of respect to the dead king. It 
was firmly believed amongst the Macedonians that the 
country in which Alexander's body had its last rest- 
ing-place would become happy and powerful above all 
countries. This prophecy was uttered by the old seer 
Telmissus soon after the king's death. Did Ptolemy 
have this belief, or did he wish to make use of it? There 
were probably other reasons which had caused him to 
enter into an understanding with Arridaeus, and to ar- 
range with him that he was to start without orders from 
the regent. He was afraid that Perdiccas, in order to 
add to the solemnity of the procession, would himself 
accompany the body with the imperial army to Egypt. 
Ptolemy felt that his position in the lands entrusted to 
his care would be greatly weakened if a higher authority 
than himself could appear there with a military force. 
Arridaeus led the funeral train to Damascus, as had been 
arranged before with Ptolemy. It was in vain that Pole- 
mon (one of Perdiccas' generals), who was in the neigh- 
bourhood, went to meet him. He was able to obtain no 
respect for the express order of the regent. The 


funeral procession passed Damascus on its way to Egypt. 
Ptolemy accompanied the body with his army as far as 
Syria. It was then taken on to Memphis to rest there 
until it could be sheltered by that beautiful sepulchre 
of the kings at Alexandria. 

Arridaeus 7 action, in starting without permission, 
and the defiance of Polemon's order, were acts of open 
revolt against the higher authority of the kingdom. 
Perdiccas called all loyal followers to the council of 
war. Ptolemy, he said, had defied the order of the kings 
in his behaviour concerning the funeral procession; and 
he had also given shelter to the exiled satraps of Phrygia. 
He was prepared for war, which he hoped to bring about. 
It was for them (the loyal ones) to uphold the dignity 
of the kingdom. They must try to take him unawares, 
and to overcome them individually. The question was, 
if the Egyptians or the Macedonians ought to be first 
attacked. In the end, plans were carefully concerted 
for an attack on Egypt and the protection of Europe. 
In the early spring of b. c. 321, Perdiccas and his col- 
leagues set out for Egypt with the imperial army, or- 
dering the fleet to follow, and leaving Eumenes with 
skilled officers and troops in general command of Asia 
Minor for the purpose of guarding the Hellespont. 

At the Egyptian frontier, Perdiccas summoned the 
army together, that the men themselves should give 
judgment in the case of the satrap of Egypt, in the same 
way as in the preceding autumn they had given judg- 
ment in the case of Antigones. He expected a decision 
which would enable him to finish what he had already 

Street Scene in Cairo 

From the painting by Gerome 


begun. The accusations were that he had refused obe- 
dience to the kings, that he had fought against and over- 
come the Greeks of Cyrenaica (who had received free- 
dom from Alexander), and that he had taken possession 
of the king's body, and carried it to Memphis. 

According to the single account, which tells us of 
these proceedings, Ptolemy himself appeared to conduct 
his own defence before the assembled warriors. He had 
good reason for reckoning on the impression his confi- 
dence in them would make upon them, and on the love 
that he knew the Macedonians bore towards him. He 
knew, too, of the increasing dislike of the imperial 
regent. His defence was heard with growing approval, 
and the army's judgment was " freedom." 

In spite of this the regent kept to the war. The 
decision of the troops alienated him still more from 
them. The war with Egypt was contrary to their wishes, 
and they murmured openly. Perdiccas sought to put 
down the refractory spirit with a stern military hand, 
but the remonstrances of his officers were in vain. He 
treated the first in the land in an inconsiderate and 
despotic manner, removed the most deserving from their 
command, and trusted himself alone. This same man, 
who had climbed the path to greatness with so much 
foresight, self-command, energy, and statesmanship, 
seemed now, the nearer he grew to the summit of his 
ambition, to lose all clearness of sight and moderation, 
which traits alone could help him to take this last and 
dangerous step. He had the advantage of tried troops, 
the elephants of Alexander, and the fleet under the 



command of his brother-in-law was near the mouth of 
the Nile; but he had overstepped the mark. 

Just at this time, the news reached him from Asia 
Minor that Eumenes had conquered Neoptolemas, the 
governor of Armenia, who had taken the side of Ptolemy. 

With all the more hope, 
Perdiccas went to meet the 
enemy. He reached Pelu- 
sium undisturbed. It was 
highly necessary that the 
army should cross to the 
Pelusaic side of the Nile, for 
there were several secure 
places there, which, if al- 
lowed to remain in the hands 
of the enemy, would endan- 



ger the forward movement. There were also plentiful 
supplies of provisions within the Delta, whilst the wav 
through the so-called Arabia was sparsely inhabited. 

If he did not find the Egyptians there, Perdiccas 
would install himself within one of the fortresses on that 
side, and thence conduct operations against them, and, at 
the same time, remain in connection with his fleet, on 
which he could fall back in case of need. To enable the 
crossing to be accomplished as easily as possible, Perdic- 
cas ordered the cleaning out of an old and filled-in canal, 
that led up from the Nile. The work was evidently begun 
without much thought, for the fact had not been consid- 
ered that, at the rising of the Nile, the canal, would want 
a much deeper bed than the present stream required. 
The canal had only just been opened up, when the water 
rose with unusual force and rapidity; the dam was com- 
pletely destroyed, and many workers lost their lives. 
During the disturbance, many officers and men left the 
camp and hurried to Ptolemy. This was the beginning 
of the Egyptian war. The desertion of so many impor- 
tant men made Perdiccas think seriously. He summoned 
the officers of the army, spoke to them with much conde- 
scension, gave presents to some, honoured others with 
promotion, and begged them, for the sake of their honour 
and for the cause of their kings, to fight their hardest 
against this rebel, and with the order to hold their men 
in readiness, he left them. The army was only told in 
the evening, at the signal for starting, where they were 
to march. Perdiccas feared, on account of the desertion 
that was taking place in his army, that his march might 


be discovered by the enemy. They marched with great 
speed through the night, and camped at last on the side 
of the river. At daybreak, after the troops had rested, 
Perdiccas gave the order to cross. First came the ele- 
phants, then the light infantry, next the storming party 
with ladders, and lastly, the pick of the cavalry, who, if 
the enemy should burst out during the storming, could 
easily drive them back. Perdiccas hoped, if he could 
only get a firm footing on that side of the river, to anni- 
hilate the Egyptian army easily with his superior force. 
He was right in feeling that his Macedonian troops, when 
face to face with the enemy, would forget their antipathy 
to him, and think only of their military honour. When 
about half the army had crossed, and just as the elephants 
were moving towards the fortress, the enemy were seen 
hurrying thither with great speed; their trumpet-calls 
and war-cries even were heard. They reached the fort 
before the Macedonians, and withdrew into the shelter 
of its walls. Not discouraged by this, the infantry 
stormed the fort. Ladders were placed against the walls, 
the elephants driven forward, and palisades taken from 
their backs to attack the ramparts. 

Ptolemy, in the dress of a Macedonian soldier, stood 
on the wall surrounded by a few selected men. He was 
first in the fight. Prom where he stood he pierced with 
his lance the eyes of the leading elephant, and stabbed 
the Indian on its back, and he wounded many and killed 
numbers of the storming party. His officers and men 
fought with the greatest spirit ; the driver of the second 
elephant was killed and the infantry were driven back. 








Perdiccas led new troops to the attack, wishing to take 
the fortress at all costs. By word and deed, Ptolemy 
urged on his men, who fought with marvellous endur- 
ance. The dreadful battle waged the whole day; many 
were killed and wounded; evening came on and nothing 
was decided. Perdiccas ordered a retreat and returned 
to his camp. 

In the middle of the night he again started with his 
army, hoping that Ptolemy would stay in the fort with 
his troops, and that, after a trying march of some miles 
up-stream, he (Perdiccas) would be able to cross the 
river more easily. At daybreak he found himself oppo- 
site one of the many islands of the Nile; it was large 
enough for the camp of a great army. In spite of the 
difficulties of crossing, he decided to encamp his army 
there. The water reached up to the soldiers' knees, and 
it was with the greatest difficulty that they kept their 
footing against the force of the current. In order to 
break this current, Perdiccas ordered the elephants into 
the river to stand up-stream to the left of the fording 
party; he ordered the horsemen to stand at the other 
end to help those across that were driven down by the 
current. Some had, with great difficulty, managed to 
get across; others were still in the stream when it was 
noticed that the water was becoming deeper; the heav- 
ily armed men sank, and the elephants and horses stood 
deeper and deeper in the water. A fearful panic seized 
the army. They called out that the enemy had closed in 
the canals up-stream, and that the gods had destined 
bad weather in the upper provinces, on account of which 



the river was swollen. Those who understood saw that 
the bed of the river had become deepened by the cross- 
ing of so great a cavalcade. It was impossible for the 
remainder to cross or for those on the island to return. 
They were completely cut off and were at the mercy of 
the enemy, who were already seen approaching. There 
was nothing left but to order them to get back as well 
as they could; lucky indeed were those who could swim, 
and had sufficient strength to bring them across the 


broad expanse of water. Many saved themselves in this 
way. They came without weapons, worn out and des- 
perate, to the shore; others were drowned or eaten by 
crocodiles. Some were carried down-stream, and reached 
the shore where the enemy stood. Two thousand men 
were missing, many officers among them. The camp of 
the Egyptians was situated on the other side, and they 
could be seen helping the men in the water and burning 
logs of wood to show honour to the dead. On this side 
of the river there was sad silence; each man sought his 
comrade, or officer, and sought in vain. Pood was scarce, 


and there was no means of overcoming this dreadful state 
of affairs; night came on, and curses and complaints 
were heard on all sides. The lives of so many brave men 
had been sacrificed for nothing; it was bad enough to 
lose the " honour of their arms," but now, through the 
stupidity of their leader, their lives had been lost, and 
to be swallowed by crocodiles was now the distinguished 
death of Macedonian warriors. Many of the officers 
went to the tent of the regent, and told him openly that 
he was the cause of this calamity. Outside the tent the 
Macedonians yelled, beside themselves with rage. About 
a hundred of the officers, headed by the satrap Python, 
refused to share further responsibility, resigned their 
commissions, and left the tent. The excitement grew 
intense. The troops, in ungovernable rage, entered the 
regent's tent and threw themselves upon him. Antig- 
onus struck the first blow, others followed, and, after 
a desperate but short struggle, Perdiccas fell to the 
ground covered with wounds. 

Thus died Perdiccas, in the third year of his regency. 
His great idea, the unity of the kingdom entrusted to 
his care, should have made him worthy of more success 
had he given himself up to this idea with more conscien- 
tiousness. Unfortunately, with growing power, he be- 
came despotic and unjust. He was not great enough to 
become the successor of Alexander, to be another " ruler 
of the world." This last step, the one which was to lead 
him to his long-coveted goal, led him instead to his death. 

Ptolemy soon heard the news, and the next morning 
he crossed the river and came to the camp. He asked 


to be taken to the kings, presented them and some of 
the nobles with gifts; was kind and considerate to all, 
and was greeted with great joy. Then he called the 
troops together and spoke to them. He told the Mace- 
donians that it was only stern necessity that caused him 
to take up arms against his old comrades. No man re- 
gretted more than he the untimely death of so many 
heroes. Perdiccas was the cause of this calamity; he 
had but received his just punishment. Now all enmity 
was to be ended. He had saved as many as he could from 
death in the water, and the corpses which the river had 
brought to the shore he had buried with all honour; and 
finally he told them that he had given orders for the 
immediate alleviation of the want which he knew was 
being felt in the camp. His speech was received with 
loud cheers. He stood there unhurt and admired before 
the Macedonians, who but a few hours earlier had been 
his bitterest foes. Now they looked upon him as their 
saviour; they all acknowledged him as the conqueror, 
and for the moment he stood in unequivocal possession 
of that power for which Perdiccas had worked so hard, 
and which he had so much abused. Who was now to be 
Perdiccas 9 successor, and to manage the kingdom in the 
name of the kings? With one voice the people begged 
Ptolemy to undertake this task. The foresight and 
presence of mind of the son of Lagus were not clouded 
by the allurement of such an offer gained by his sudden 
change of fortune. At this supreme moment he acted 
with consummate sagacity. He divined that a refusal 
of the proffered honour would make him in reality more 


powerful, although, at the moment, he would seem to be 
acting in an unselfish manner. He recommended to the 
army, as a favour which he had to bestow, those he 
thought worthy of his thanks; they were Python, the 
Median strategist, who had taken the first decisive step 
against Perdiccas; and Arridasus, who, in spite of Per- 
diccas' orders, had taken the body of the king to Egypt. 
These two were nominated regents with loud cheers. 

The Macedonian army, accordingly, chose Python 
and Arridseus as guardians, and as rulers with unlimited 
power over the whole of Alexander's conquests; but, 
though none of the Greek generals who now held Asia 
Minor, Syria, Babylonia, Thrace, or Egypt dared to 
acknowledge it to the soldiers, yet in reality the power 
of the guardians was limited to the little kingdom of 
Macedonia. With the death of Perdiccas, and the with- 
drawal of his army, Phoenicia and Coele-Syria were left 
unguarded, and almost without a master. In order that 
Egypt might take an important part in the universal 
policy, Ptolemy felt he must possess Syria, which would 
open up the way for him to the countries along the Eu- 
phrates and the Tigris, and also the island of Cyprus, 
where he would be near the coast of Asia Minor. He 
could not yet think of conquering Cyprus, which had an 
important fleet. He felt that, if he annexed Syria, either 
by diplomacy or by force, the organisation of the king- 
dom and the territorial division of power would be 
changed in a tangible manner. The Egyptian satraps 
already possessed some measure of authority, and he 
could also depend upon the satrap of Syria joining him. 


Perdiccas had bestowed this satrapy upon Laomedon, the 
Amphysolite, who had taken no part in the great fight 
between Perdiccas and Ptolemy. Ptolemy now informed 
him that he wished to possess his satrapy, but was ready 
to compensate him with a sum of money. Laomedon re- 
fused this offer with scorn. Thereupon, an army under 
Nicanor, one of the " friends " of Ptolemy, marched into 
Palestine. Jerusalem was the only place that held out 
against the Egyptian army; but Nicanor, says the his- 
torian Agatharcides, seeing that on every seventh day 
the garrison withdrew from the walls, chose that day for 
the assault, and thus gained the city. Without further 
opposition the Egyptians marched onwards. At last he 
met Laomedon, took him prisoner, and brought him back 
to Egypt. Egyptian sentries now guarded the strong- 
holds of the country; Egyptian ships took the towns 
along the coast. A great number of the Jews were 
transported to Alexandria; they received the rights of 
citizenship there. Without altering local conditions, 
Syria gradually came under the sway of the Egyptian 
satraps. Laomedon found means of escaping from 
Egypt; he fled to Alcetas in Caria, who had just with- 
drawn himself to the mountainous regions of Pisida, 
thence to begin the decisive war against Antigonus. 

In the earlier times of Egyptian history, when navi- 
gation was less easy, and when seas separated kingdoms 
instead of joining them, the Thebaid enjoyed, under the 
Koptic kings, the trading wealth which followed the 
stream of its great river, the longest piece of inland navi- 
gation then known; but, with the improvement in 



navigation and ship-building, countries began to feel 
their strength in the timber of their forests and the num- 
ber of their harbours; and, as timber and sea-coast were 
equally unknown in the Thebaid, that country fell as 
Lower Egypt rose; the wealth which before centred in 
Thebes was then found in the ports of the Delta, where 
the barges of the Nile met the ships of the Mediterra- 
nean. What used to be Egypt was an inland kingdom, 
bounded by the desert; but Egypt under Ptolemy was 
a country on the sea-coast; and, on the conquest of Phoe- 
nicia and Coele-Syria, he was master of the forests of 
Lebanon and Antilibanus, and stretched his coast from 
Cyrene to Antioch, a distance of twelve hundred miles. 
The wise and mild plans which were laid down by 
Alexander for the government of Egypt when a province 
were easily followed by Ptolemy when it became his own 
kingdom. The Greek soldiers lived in their garrisons 
or in Alexandria under the Macedonian laws, while the 
Egyptian laws were administered by their own priests, 
who were upheld in all the rights of their order and in 
their freedom from land-tax. The temples of Phtah, of 
Amon-Ra, and the other gods of the country were not 
only kept open, but were repaired and even built at the 
cost of the king; the religion of the people, and not that 
of their rulers, was made the established religion of the 
state. On the death of the god Apis, the sacred bull of 
Memphis, the chief of the animals which were kept and 
fed at the cost of the several cities, and who had died of 
old age soon after Ptolemy came to Egypt, he spent the 
sum of fifty talents, or $42,500, on its funeral; and the 



priests, who had not forgotten that Cambyses, their 
former conqueror, had wounded the Apis of his day with 
his own sword, must have been highly pleased with this 
mark of his care for them. The burial-place for the bulls 
is an arched gallery tunnelled into the hill behind Mem- 
phis for more than two thousand feet, with a row of cells 
on each side of it. In every cell is a huge granite sarcoph- 
agus, within which were placed the remains of a bull 
that had once been the Apis of its day, which, after hav- 
ing for perhaps twenty years received the honours of 
a god, was there buried with more than kingly state. 
The cell was then walled up, and ornamented on the out- 
side with various tablets in honour of the deceased ani- 
mal, which were placed in these dark passages by the 
piety of his worshippers. The priests of Thebes were 
now at liberty to cut out from their monuments the 
names of usurping gods, and to restore those that had 
been before cut out. They also rebuilt the inner room, 
or the holy of holies, in the great temple of Karnak. 

It had been overthrown by the 
Persians in wantonness, or in ha- 
tred of the Egyptian religion; 
and the priests now put upon it 
the name of Philip Arridaeus, for 
whom Ptolemy was nominally 
governing Egypt. 

The Egyptians, who during 
the last two centuries had sometimes seen their temples 
plundered and their trade crushed by the grasping 
tyranny of the Persian satraps, and had at other times 



been almost as much hurt by their own vain struggles 
for freedom, now found themselves in the quiet enjoy- 
ment of good laws, with a prosperity which promised 
soon to equal that of the reigns of Necho or Amasis. It 
is true that they had not regained their independence 
and political liberty; that, as compared with the Greeks, 
they felt themselves an inferior race, and that they only 
enjoyed their civil rights during the pleasure of a Greek 
autocrat; but then it is to be remembered that the na- 
tive rulers with whom Ptolemy was compared were the 
kings of Lower Egypt, who, like himself, were sur- 
rounded by Greek mercenaries, and who never rested 
their power on the broad base of national pride and love 
of country; and that nobody could have hoped to see a 
Theban king arise to bring back the days of Thutmosis 
and Ramses. Thebes was every day sinking in wealth 
and strength; and its race of hereditary soldiers, proud 
in the recollection of former glory, who had, after cen- 
turies of struggles, been forced to receive laws from 
Memphis, perhaps yielded obedience to a Greek con- 
queror with less pain than they did formerly to their 
own vassals of Lower Egypt. 

Ptolemy's government was in form nearly the same 
in Alexandria as in the rest of Egypt, but in reality it 
was wholly different. His sway over the Egyptians was 
supported by Greek force, but over the Greeks it rested 
on the broad base of public opinion. Every Greek had 
the privilege of bearing arms, and of meeting in the 
gymnasium in public assembly, to explain a grievance, 
and petition for its redress. The citizens and the soldiers 


were the same body of men; they at the same time held 
the force, and had the spirit to use it. But they had no 
senate, no body of nobles, no political constitution which 
might save their freedom in after generations from the 
ambitious grasp of the sovereign, or from their own 
degeneracy. While claiming to be equal among them- 
selves they were making themselves slaves; and though 
at present the government so entirely bore the stamp of 
their own will that they might fancy they enjoyed a 
democracy, yet history teaches us that the simple pater- 
nal form of government never fails to become sooner or 
later a cruel tyranny. The building of Alexandria must 
be held the master-stroke of policy by which Egypt was 
kept in obedience. Here, and afterwards in a few other 
cities, such as Ptolemais in the Thebaid and Parembole 
in Nubia, the Greeks lived without insulting or troubling 
the Egyptians, and by their numbers held the country 
like so many troops in garrison. It was a wise policy 
to make no greater change than necessary in the king- 
dom, and to leave the Egyptians under their own laws 
and magistrates, and in the enjoyment of their own re- 
ligion; and yet it was necessary to have the country 
garrisoned with Greeks, whose presence in the old cities 
could not but be extremely galling to the Egyptians. 
This was done by means of these new Greek cities, where 
the power by which Egypt was governed was stronger 
by being united, and less hateful by being out of sight. 
Seldom or never was so great a monarchy founded with 
so little force and so little crime. 

Ptolemy, however, did not attempt the difficult task 



of uniting the two races, and of treating the conquered 
and the conquerors as entitled to the same privileges. 
From the time of Necho and Psammetichus, many of 
the Greeks who settled in Egypt intermarried with the 
natives, and very much laid aside their own habits; and 
sometimes their offspring, after a generation or two, 
became wholly Egyptian. By the Greek laws the chil- 
dren of these mixed marriages were declared to be bar- 
barians; not Greeks but Egyptians, and were brought 
up accordingly. They left the worship of Jupiter and 
Juno for that of Isis and Osiris, and perhaps the more 
readily for the greater earnestness with which the Egyp- 
tian gods were worshipped. We now trace their de- 
scendants by the form of their skulls, even into the 
priestly families; and of one hundred 
mummies covered with hieroglyphics, 
taken up from the catacombs near Thebes, 
about twenty show a European origin, 
while of those from the tombs near Mem- 
phis, seventy out of every hundred have 
lost their Koptic peculiarities. It is easy 
to foresee that an important change would 
have been wrought in the character of the 
people and in their political institutions, 
if the Greek laws had been humane and 
wise enough to grant to the children of 
mixed marriages the privileges, the education, and 
thereby the moral feelings of the more favoured parent; 
and it is not too much to suppose, if the Greek law of 
marriage had been altered by Ptolemy, that within three 



centuries above half the nation would have spoken the 
Greek language, and boasted of its Greek origin. 

The stimulus given by Ptolemy Soter to the culture 
of the age has been already mentioned. The founding 
of the famous museum and library of Alexandria may 
be, perhaps, regarded as the rounding-off of his political 
plans for the consolidation of his kingdom. Alexandria 
became, in fact, not only a centre of commerce and gov- 
ernment, but also the intellectual capital of the Greeks. 
But for this supreme importance of the city, it is doubt- 
ful whether the descendants of Ptolemy Lagus could have 
continued to rule the Valley of the Nile. 

In return for the literature which Greece then gave 
to Egypt, she gained the knowledge of papyrus, a tall 
rush which grows wild near the sources of the Nile, and 
was then cultivated in the Egyptian marshes. Before 
that time books had been written on linen, wax, bark, 
or the leaves of trees; and public records on stone, brass, 
or lead: but the knowledge of papyrus was felt by all 
men of letters like the invention of printing in modern 
Europe. Books were then known by many for the first 
time, and very little else was afterwards used in Greece 
or Rome ; for, when parchment was made about two cen- 
turies later, it was too costly to be used as long as papy- 
rus was within reach. Copies were multiplied on frail 
strips of this plant, and it was found that mere thoughts, 
when worth preserving, were less liable to be destroyed 
by time than temples and palaces of the hardest stone. 

While Egypt, under Ptolemy, was thus enjoying the 
advantages of its insulated position, and cultivating the 


































arts of peace, the other provinces were being harassed 
by the unceasing wars of Alexander's generals, who were 
aiming, like Ptolemy, at raising their own power. Many 
changes had taken place among them in the short space 
of eight years which had passed since the death of Alex- 
ander. Philip Arridaeus, in whose name the provinces 
had been governed, had been put to death; Antigonus 
was master of Asia Minor, with a kingdom more power- 
ful though not so easily guarded as Egypt; Cassander 
held Macedonia, and had the care of the young Alexander 
iEgus, who was then called the heir to the whole of his 
father's wide conquests, and 
whose life, like that of Arridaeus, 
was soon to end with his minor- 
ity; Lysimachus was trying to 
form a kingdom in Thrace; and 
Seleucus had for a brief period 
held Babylonia. 

Ptolemy bore no part in the 
wars which brought about these 
changes, beyond being once or 
twice called upon to send troops 
to guard his province of Coele-Syria. But Antigonus, in 
his ambitious efforts to stretch his power over all the 
provinces, had by force or by treachery driven Seleu- 
cus out of Babylon, and forced him to seek Egypt for 
safety, where Ptolemy received him with the kindness 
and good policy which had before gained so many friends. 
No arguments of Seleucus were wanting to persuade 
Ptolemy that Antigonus was dreaming of universal 



conquest, and that his next attack would be upon Egypt. 
He therefore sent ambassadors to make treaties of alli- 
ance with Cassander and Lysimachus, who readily joined 
him against the common enemy. 

The large fleet and army which Antigonus got to- 
gether for the invasion of Egypt proved his opinion of 
the strength and skill of Ptolemy. All Syria, except one 
or two cities, laid down its arms before him on his ap- 
proach. But he found that the whole of the fleet had 
been already removed to the ports of Egypt, and he or- 
dered Phoenicia to furnish him with eight thousand ship- 
builders and carpenters, to build galleys from the for- 
ests of Lebanon and Antilibanus, and ordered Syria to 
send four hundred and fifty thousand medimni, or nearly 
three millions of bushels of wheat, for the use of his army 
within the year. By these means he raised his fleet to 
two hundred and forty-three long galleys or ships of war. 

Ptolemy was for a short time called off from the war 
in Syria by a rising in Cyrene. The Cyrenians, who 
clung to their Doric love of freedom, and were latterly 
smarting at its loss, had taken arms and were besieging 
the Egyptian, or, as they would have called themselves, 
the Macedonian garrison, who had shut themselves up 
in the citadel. He at first sent messengers to order the 
Cyrenians to return to their duty; but his orders were 
not listened to; the rebels no doubt thought themselves 
safe, as his armies seemed more wanted on the eastern 
frontier; his messengers were put to death, and the siege 
of the citadel pushed forward with all possible speed. 
On this he sent a large land force, followed by a fleet, 


in order to crush the revolt at a single blow; and the 
ringleaders were brought to Alexandria in chains. Ma- 
gas, a son of Queen Berenice and stepson of Ptolemy, 
was then made governor of Cyrene. 

When this trouble at home was put an end to, Ptol- 
emy crossed over to Cyprus to punish the kings of the 
little states on that island for having joined Antigonus. 
For now that the fate of empires was to be settled by 
naval battles the friendship of Cyprus became very im- 
portant to the neighbouring states. The large and safe 
harbours gave to this island a great value in the naval 
warfare between Egypt, Phoenicia, and Asia Minor. Al- 
exander had given it as his opinion that the command of 
the sea went with the island of Cyprus. When he held 
Asia Minor he called Cyprus the key to Egypt; and with 
still greater reason might Ptolemy, looking from Egypt, 
think that island the key to Phoenicia. Accordingly he 
landed there with so large a force that he met with no 
resistance. He added Cyprus to the rest of his domin- 
ions: he banished the kings, and made Nicocreon gov- 
ernor of the whole island. 

From Cyprus, Ptolemy landed with his army in Upper 
Syria, as the northern part of that country was called, 
while the part nearer to Palestine was called Coele-Syria. 
Here he took the towns of Posideion and Potami-Caron, 
and then marching hastily into Asia Minor he took Mal- 
lus, a city of Cilicia. Having rewarded his soldiers with 
the booty there seized, he again embarked and returned 
to Alexandria. This inroad seems to have been meant 
to draw off the enemy from Coele-Syria; and it had the 


wished-for effect, for Demetrius, who commanded the 
forces of his father Antigonus in that quarter, marched 
northward to the relief of Cilicia, but he did not arrive 
there till Ptolemy's fleet was already under sail for 
its return journey to Egypt. 

Ptolemy, on reaching Alexandria, set his army in 
motion towards Pelusium, on its w r ay to Palestine. His 
forces were eighteen thousand foot and four thousand 
horse, part Macedonians, as the Greeks living in Egypt 
were always called, and part mercenaries, followed by a 
crowd of Egyptians, of whom some were armed for battle, 
and some were to take care of the baggage. He had 
twenty-two thousand Greeks, and was met at Gaza by the 
young Demetrius with an army of eleven thousand foot 
and twenty-three hundred horse, followed by forty-three 
elephants and a body of light-armed barbarians, who, 
like the Egyptians in the army of Ptolemy, were not 
counted. But the youthful courage of Demetrius was 
no match for the cool skill and larger army of Ptolemy; 
the elephants were easily stopped by iron hurdles, and 
the Egyptian army, after gaining a complete victory, 
entered Gaza, while Demetrius fled to Azotus. Ptolemy, 
in his victory, showed a generosity unknown in modern 
warfare; he not only gave leave to the conquered army 
to bury their dead, but sent back the whole of the royal 
baggage w T hich had fallen into his hands, and also those 
personal friends of Demetrius who were found among 
the prisoners; that is to say, all those who wished to 
depart, as the larger part of these Greek armies were 
equally ready to fight on either side. 


By this victory the whole of Phoenicia was again 
joined to Egypt, and Seleucus regained Babylonia. 
There, by following the example of Ptolemy in his good 
treatment of the people, and in leaving them their own 
laws and religion, he founded a monarchy, and gave his 
name to a race of kings which rivalled even the Lagidae. 
He raised up again for a short time the throne of Nebu- 
chadnezzar. But it was only for a short time. The Chal- 
dees and Assyrians now yielded the first rank to the 
Greeks who had settled among them; and the Greeks 
were more numerous in the Syrian portion of his empire. 
Accordingly Seleucus built a new capital on the river 
Orontes, and named it Antioch after his father. Baby- 
lon then yielded the same obedience to this new Greek 
city that Memphis paid to Alexandria. Assyria and 
Babylonia became subject provinces; and the succes- 
sors of Seleucus, who came to be known as Selucids, 
styled themselves not kings of Babylon but of Syria. 

When Antigonus, who was in Phrygia on the other 
side of his kingdom, heard that his son Demetrius had 
been beaten at Gaza, he marched with all his forces to 
give battle to Ptolemy. He soon crossed Mount Taurus, 
the lofty range which divides Asia Minor from Syria and 
Mesopotamia, and joined his camp to that of his son in 
Upper Syria. But Ptolemy had gone through life with- 
out ever making a hazardous move; not indeed without 
ever suffering a loss, but without ever fighting a battle 
when its loss would have ruined him, and he did not 
choose to risk his kingdom against the far larger forces 
of Antigonus. Therefore, with the advice of his council 


of generals, he levelled the fortifications of Acre, Joppa, 
Samaria, and Gaza, and withdrew his forces and treasure 
into Egypt, leaving the desert between himself and the 
army of Antigonus. 

Antigonus could not safely attempt to march through 
the desert in the face of Ptolemy's army. He had, there- 
fore, first, either to conquer or gain the friendship of 
the Nabataeans, a warlike race of Arabs, who held the 
north of Arabia; and then he might march by Petra, 
Mount Sinai, and the coast of the Red Sea, without being 
in want of water for his army. The Nabataeans were the 
tribe at an earlier time called Edomites. But they lost 
that name when they carried it to the southern portion 
of Judaea, then called Idumaea; for when the Jews re- 
gained Idumaea, they called these Edomites of the desert 
Nebaoth or Nabataeans. The Nabataeans professed neu- 
trality between Antigonus and Ptolemy, the two contend- 
ing powers; but the mild temper of Ptolemy had so far 
gained their friendship that the haughty Antigonus, 
though he did not refuse their pledges of peace, secretly 
made up his mind to conquer them. 

Petra, the city of the Nabataeans, is in a narrow val- 
ley between steep overhanging rocks, so difficult of ap- 
proach that a handful of men could guard it against the 
largest army. Not more than two horsemen can ride 
abreast through the chasm in the rock by which it is 
entered from the east, while the other entrance from the 
west is down a hillside too steep for a loaded camel. The 
Eastern proverb reminds us that " Water is the chief 
thing; " and a large stream within the valley, in addition 










to the strength of the fortress, made it a favourite rest- 
ing-place for caravans, which, whether they were com- 
ing from Tyre or Jerusalem, were forced to pass by this 
city in their way to the Incense Country of Arabia Felix, 
or to the Elanitic Gulf of the Red Sea, and for other car- 
avans from Egypt to Dedam on the Persian Gulf. These 
warlike Arabs seem to have received a toll from the 
caravans, and they held their rocky fastness uncon- 
quered by the great nations which surrounded them. 
Their temples and tombs were cut out of the live rock, 
and hence the city was by the Jews named Selah, (the 
rock), and by the Greeks named Petra, from which last 
the country was sometimes called Arabia Petraea. 

Antigonus heard that the Nabataeans had left Petra 
less guarded than usual, and had gone to a neighbour- 
ing fair, probably to meet a caravan from the south, and 
to receive spices in exchange for the woollen goods from 
Tyre. He therefore sent forward four thousand light- 
armed foot and six hundred horse, who overpowered the 
guard and seized the city. The Arabs, when they heard 
of what had happened, returned in the night, surrounded 
the place, came upon the Greeks from above, by paths 
known only to themselves, and overcame them with such 
slaughter that, out of the four thousand six hundred 
men, only fifty returned to Antigonus to tell the tale. 

The Nabataeans then sent to Antigonus to complain 
of this crafty attack being made upon Petra after they 
had received from him a promise of friendship. He 
endeavoured to put them off their guard by disowning 
the acts of his general; he sent them home with 


promises of peace, but at the same time sent forward his 
son Demetrius, with four thousand horse and four thou- 
sand foot, to take revenge upon them, and again seize 
their city. But the Arabs were this time upon their 
guard; the nature of the place was as unfavourable to 
the Greek arms and warfare as it was favourable to the 
Arabs; and these eight thousand men, the flower of the 
army, under brave Demetrius, were unable to force their 
way through the narrow pass into this remarkable city. 

Had Antigonus been master of the sea, he might per- 
haps have marched through the desert along the coast 
of the Mediterranean to Pelusium, with his fleet to wait 
upon his army, as Perdiccas had done. But without this, 
the only way that he could enter Egypt was through the 
neighbourhood of Petra, and then along the same path 
which the Jews are supposed to have followed; and the 
stop thus put upon the invasion of Egypt by this little 
city shows us the strength of Ptolemy's eastern frontier. 
Antigonus then led his army northward, leaving the 
kingdom of Egypt unattacked. 

This retreat was followed by a treaty of peace be- 
tween these generals, by which it was agreed that each 
should keep the country that he then held; that Cassan- 
der should govern Macedonia until Alexander JEgus, the 
son of Alexander the Great, should be of age; that 
Lysimachus should keep Thrace, Ptolemy Egypt, and 
Antigonus Asia Minor and Palestine; and each wishing 
to be looked upon as the friend of the soldiers by whom 
his power was upheld, and the whole of these wide con- 
quests kept in awe, added the very unnecessary article, 


that the Greeks living in each of these countries should 
be governed according to their own laws. 

All the provinces held by these generals became more 
or less Greek kingdoms, yet in no one did so many Greeks 
settle as in Lower Egypt. Though the rest of Egypt was 
governed by Egyptian laws and judges, the city of Alex- 
andria was under Macedonian law. It did not form part 
of the nome of Hermopolites in which it was built. It 
scarcely formed a part of Egypt, but was a Greek state 
in its neighbourhood, holding the Egyptians in a state 
of slavery. In that city no Egyptian could live with- 
out feeling himself of a conquered race. He was not 
admitted to the privileges of Macedonian citizenship, 
while they were at once granted to every Greek, and soon 
to everv Jew, who would settle there. 

By the treaty just spoken of, Ptolemy, in the thir- 
teenth year after the death of Alexander, was left un- 
disputed master of Egypt. During these years he had 
not only gained the love of the Egyptians and Alexan- 
drians by his wise and just government, but had won 
their respect as a general by the skill with which he had 
kept the war at a distance. He had lost and won battles 
in Syria, in Asia Minor, in the island of Cyprus, and at 
sea; but since Perdiccas marched against him, before 
he had a force to defend himself with, no foreign army 
had drunk the sacred waters of the Nile. 

It was under the government of Ptolemy that the 
wonders of Upper Egypt were first seen by any Greeks 
who had leisure, a love of knowledge, and enough of lit- 
erature, to examine carefully and to describe what they 


saw. Loose and highly coloured accounts of the wealth 
of Thebes had reached Greece even before the time of 
Homer, and again through Herodotus and other travellers 
in the Delta; but nothing was certainly known of it till 
it was visited by Hecatseus of Abdera, who, among other 
works, wrote a history of the Hyperborean or northern 
nations, and also a history, or rather a description of 
Egypt, part of which we now read in the pages of Dio- 
dorus Siculus. When he travelled in Upper Egypt, 
Thebes, though still a populous city, was more thought 
of by the antiquary than by the statesman. Its wealth, 
however, was still great; and when, under the just gov- 
ernment of Ptolemy, it was no longer necessary for the 
priests to hide their treasures, it was found that the tem- 
ples still held the very large sum of three hundred talents 
of gold, and two thousand three hundred talents of silver, 
or above five million dollars, which had escaped the 
plundering hands of the Persian satraps. Many of the 
Theban tombs, which are sets of rooms tunnelled into 
the hills on the Libyan side of the Nile, had even then 
been opened to gratify the curiosity of the learned or 
the greediness of the conqueror. Forty-seven royal 
tombs were mentioned in the records of the priests, of 
which the entrances had been covered up with earth, and 
hidden in the sloping sides of the hills, in the hope that 
they might remain undisturbed and unplundered, and 
might keep safe the embalmed bodies of the kings till 
they should rise again at the end of the world; and 
seventeen of these had already been found out and 
broken open. Hecataeus was told that the other tombs 



















had been before destroyed; and we owe it, perhaps, to 
this mistake that they remained unopened for more than 
two thousand years longer, to reward the searches of 
modern travellers, and to unfold to us the history of their 

The Memnonium, the great palace of Ramses II., was 
then standing; and though it had been plundered by the 
Persians, the building itself was unhurt. Its massive 
walls had scarcely felt the wear of the centuries which 
had rolled over them. Hecataeus measured its rooms, 
its courtyards, and its avenue of sphinxes; and by his 
measurements we can now distinguish its ruins from 
those of the other palaces of Thebes. One of its rooms, 
perhaps after the days of its builder, had been fitted up 
as a library, and held the histories and records of the 
priests; but the golden zodiac, or circle, on which were 
engraved the days of the year, with the celestial bodies 
seen to rise at sunrise and set at sunset, by which each 
day was known, had been taken away by Cambyses. 
Hecataeus also saw the three other palace-temples of 
Thebes, which we now call by the names of the villages 
in which they stand, namely, of Luxor, of Karnak, and 
of Medinet-Habu. But the Greeks, in their accounts of 
Egypt, have sadly puzzled us by their careless alteration 
of names from similarity of sound. To Miamun Ramses, 
they gave the common Greek name Memnon; and the 
city of Hahiroth they called Heroopolis, as if it meant 
the city of heroes. The capital of Upper Egypt, which 
was called The City, as a capital is often called, or in 
Koptic, Tape or Thabou, they named Thebes, and in their 


mythology they confounded it with Thebes in Boeotia. 
The city of the god Kneph they called Canopus, and said 
it was so named after the pilot of Menelaus. The hill 
of Toorah opposite Memphis they called the Trojan moun- 
tain. One of the oldest cities in Egypt, This, or with the 
prefix for city, Abouthis, they called Abydos, and then 
said that it was colonised by Milesians from Abydos in 
Asia. In the same careless way have the Greeks given 
us an account of the Egyptian gods. They thought them 
the same as their own, though with new faces; and, 
instead of describing their qualities, they have in the 
main contented themselves with translating their names. 

If Ptolemy did not make his government as much 
feared by the half -armed Ethiopians as it was by the 
well-disciplined Europeans, it must have been because 
the Thebans wished to guard their own frontier rather 
than because his troops were always wanted against a 
more powerful enemy; but the inroads of the Ethiopians 
were so far from being checked that the country to the 
south of Thebes was unsafe for travellers, and no Greek 
was able to reach Syene and the lower cataracts during 
his reign. The trade through Ethiopia was wholly 
stopped, and the caravans went from Thebes to Cosseir 
to meet the ships which brought the goods of Arabia and 
India from the opposite coast of the Red Sea. 

In the wars between Egypt and Asia Minor, in which 
Palestine had the misfortune to be the prize struggled 
for and the debatable land on which the battles were 
fought, the Jews were often made to smart under the 
stern pride of Antigonus, and to rejoice at the milder 


temper of Ptolemy. The Egyptians of the Delta and the 
Jews had always been friends; and hence, when Ptolemy 
promised to treat the Jews with the same kindness as 
the Greeks, and more than the Egyptians, and held out 
all the rights of Macedonian citizenship to those who 
would settle in his rising city of Alexandria, he was fol- 
lowed by crowds of industrious traders, manufacturers, 
and men of letters. They chose to live in Egypt in peace 
and wealth, rather than to stay in Palestine in the daily 
fear of having their houses sacked and burnt at every 
fresh quarrel between Ptolemy and Antigonus. In Al- 
exandria, a suburb by the sea, on the east side of the 
city, was allotted for their use, which was afterwards 
included within the fortifications, and thus made a fifth 
ward of the Lagid metropolis. 

No sooner was the peace agreed upon between the 
four generals, who were the most powerful kings in the 
known world, than Cassander, who held Macedonia, put 
to death both the Queen Roxana and her son, the young 
Alexander iEgus, then thirteen years old, in whose name 
these generals had each governed his kingdom with un- 
limited sway, and who was then of an age that the sol- 
diers, the givers of all power, were already planning to 
make him the real King of Macedonia and of his father's 
wide conquests. 

The Macedonian phalanx, which formed the pride and 
sinews of every army, were equally held by their deep- 
rooted loyalty to the memory of Alexander, whether they 
were fighting for Ptolemy or for Antigonus, and equally 
thought that they were guarding a province for his heir; 


and it was through fear of loosening their hold upon the 
faithfulness of these their best troops that Ptolemy and 
his rivals alike chose to govern their kingdoms under the 
unpretending title of lieutenants of the King of Mace- 
donia. Hence, upon the death of Alexander ^Egus, there 
was a throne, or at least a state prison, left empty for 
a new claimant. Polysperchon, an old general of Alex- 
ander's army, then thought that he saw a way to turn 
Cassander out of Macedonia, by the help of Hercules, 
the natural son of Alexander by Barce ; and, having pro- 
claimed him king, he led him with a strong army against 
Cassander. But Polysperchon wanted either courage or 
means for what he had undertaken, and he soon yielded 
to the bribes of Cassander and put Hercules to death. 

The cities on the southern coast of Asia Minor yielded 
to Antigonus obedience as slight as the ties which held 
them to one another. The cities of Pamphylia and Cilicia, 
in their habits as in their situation, were nearer the Syr- 
ians, and famous for their shipping. They all enjoyed 
a full share of the trade and piracy of those seas, and were 
a tempting prize to Ptolemy. The treaty of peace be- 
tween the generals never lessened their jealousy nor 
wholly stopped the warfare, and the next year Ptolemy, 
finding that his troops could hardly keep their posses- 
sions in Cilicia, carried over an army in person to attack 
the forces of Antigonus in Lycia. He landed at Phaselis, 
the frontier town of Pamphylia, and, having carried that 
by storm, he moved westward along the coast of Lycia. 
He made himself master of Xanthus, the capital, which 
was garrisoned by the troops of Antigonus; and then 


of Caunus, a strong place on the coast of Caria, with two 
citadels, one of which he gained by force and the other 
by surrender. He then sailed to the island of Cos, which 
he gained by the treachery of Ptolemy, the nephew of 
Antigonus, who held it for his uncle, but who went over 
to the Egyptian king with all his forces. By this success 
he gained the whole southern coast of Asia Minor. 

The brother and two children of Alexander having 
been in their turns, as we have seen, murdered by their 
guardians, Cleopatra, his sister, and Thessalonica, his 
niece, were alone left alive of the royal family of Mace- 
donia. Almost every one of the generals had already 
courted a marriage with Cleopatra, which had either been 
refused by herself or hindered by his rivals; and lastly 
Ptolemy, now that by the death of her nephews she 
brought kingdoms, or the love of the Macedonian mer- 
cenaries, which was worth more than kingdoms, as her 
dower, sent to ask her hand in marriage. This offer was 
accepted by Cleopatra; but, on her journey from Sardis, 
the capital of Lydia, to Egypt, on her way to join her 
future husband, she was put to death by Antigonus. The 
niece was put to death a few years later. Thus every one 
who was of the family of Alexander paid the forfeit of 
life for that honour, and these two deaths ended the 
Macedonian dynasty with a double tragedy. 

While Ptolemy was busy in helping the Greek cities 
of Asia to gain their liberty, Menelaus, his brother and 
admiral, was almost driven out of Cyprus by Demetrius. 
On this Ptolemy got together his fleet, to the number 
of one hundred and forty long galleys and two hundred 


transports, manned with not less than ten thousand men, 
and sailed with them to the help of his brother. This 
fleet, under the command of Menelaus, was met by De- 
metrius with the fleet of Antigonus, consisting of one 
hundred and twelve long galleys and a number of trans- 
ports; and the Egyptian fleet, which had hitherto been 
master of the sea, was beaten near the city of Salamis 
in Cyprus by the smaller fleet of Demetrius. This was 
the heaviest loss that had ever befallen Ptolemy. Eighty 
long galleys were sunk, and forty long galleys, with one 
hundred transports and eight thousand men, were taken 
prisoners. He could no longer hope to keep Cyprus, and 
he sailed hastily back to Egypt, leaving to Demetrius the 
garrisons of the island as his prisoners, all of whom were 
enrolled in the army of Antigonus, to the number of six- 
teen thousand foot and six hundred horse. 

This naval victory gave Demetrius the means of un- 
burdening his proud mind of a debt of gratitude to his 
enemy; and accordingly, remembering what Ptolemy had 
done after the battle of Gaza, he sent back to Egypt, 
unasked for and unransomed, those prisoners who were 
of high rank, that is to say, all those who had any choice 
about which side they fought for; and among them were 
Leontiscus, the son, and Menelaus, the brother, of Ptol- 

Antigonus was overjoyed with the news of his son's 
victory. By lessening the power of Ptolemy, it had done 
much to smooth his own path to the sovereignty of Alex- 
ander's empire, which was then left without an heir; and 
he immediately took the title of king, and gave the same 











title to his son Demetrius. In this he was followed by 
Ptolemy and the other generals, but with this difference, 
that while Antigonus called himself king of all the prov- 
inces, Ptolemy called himself King of Egypt; and while 
Antigonus gained Syria and Cyprus, Ptolemy gained the 
friendship of every other kingdom and of every free city 
in Greece; they all looked upon him as their best ally 
against Antigonus, the common enemy. 

The next year Antigonus mustered his forces in Ccele- 
Syria, and got ready for a second attack upon Egypt. 
He had more than eighty thousand foot, accompanied 
with what was then the usual proportion of cavalry, 
namely, eight thousand horse and eighty-three elephants. 
Demetrius brought with him from Cyprus the fleet of 
one hundred and fifty long galleys, and one hundred 
transports laden with stores and engines of war. With 
this fleet, to which Ptolemy, after his late loss, had no 
ships that he could oppose, Antigonus had no need to 
ask leave of the Arabs of the little city of Petra to march 
through their passes; but he led his army straight 
through the desert to Pelusium, while the ships of burden 
kept close to the shore with the stores. The pride of 
Antigonus would not let him follow the advice of the 
sailors, and wait eight days till the north winds of the 
spring equinox had passed; and by this haste many of 
his ships were wrecked on the coast, while others were 
driven into the Nile and fell into the hands of Ptolemy. 
Antigonus himself, marching with the land forces, found 
all the strong places well guarded by the Egyptian army; 
and, being driven back at every point, discouraged by 


the loss of his ships and by seeing whole bodies of his 
troops go over to Ptolemy, he at last took the advice of 
his officers and led back his army to Syria, while Ptolemy 
returned to Alexandria, to employ those powers of mind 
in the works of peace which he had so successfully used 
in his various wars. 

Antigonus then turned the weight of his mighty 
kingdom against the little island of Rhodes, which, 
though in sight of the coast of Asia Minor, held itself 
independent of him, and in close friendship with Ptol- 
emy. The Dorian island of Rhodes had from the earliest 
dawn of history held a high place among the states of 
Greece; and in all the arts of civilised life, in painting, 
sculpture, letters, and commerce, it had been lately ris- 
ing in rank while the other free states had been falling. 
Its maritime laws were so highly thought of that they 
were copied by most other states, and, being afterwards 
adopted into the Pandects of Justinian, they have in part 
become the law of modern Europe. It was the only state 
in which Greek liberty then kept its ground against the 
great empires of Alexander's successors. 

Against this little state Demetrius led two hundred 
long galleys and one hundred and seventy transports, 
with more than forty thousand men. The Greek world 
looked on with deep interest while the veterans of An- 
tigonus were again and again driven back from the walls 
of the blockaded city by its brave and virtuous citizens; 
who, while their houses were burning and their walls 
crumbling under the battering-ram, left the statues of 
Antigonus and Demetrius standing unhurt in the market- 


place, saved by their love of art and the remembrance 
of former kindness, which, with a true greatness of mind, 
they would not let the cruelties of the siege outweigh. 
The galleys of Ptolemy, though unable to keep at sea 
against the larger fleet of Demetrius, often forced their 
way into the harbour with the welcome supplies of grain. 
Month after month every stratagem and machine which 
the ingenuity of Demetrius could invent were tried and 
failed; and, after the siege had lasted more than a year, 
he was glad to find an excuse for withdrawing his troops ; 
and the Khodians in their joy hailed Ptolemy with the 
title of Soter or saviour. This name he ever afterwards 
kept, though by the Greek writers he is more often called 
Ptolemy the son of Lagus. If we search the history 
of the world for a second instance of so small a state 
daring to withstand the armies of so mighty an empire, 
we shall perhaps not find any one more remarkable than 
that of the same island, when, seventeen hundred years 
afterwards, it again drew upon itself the eyes of the 
world, while it beat off the forces of the Ottoman empire 
under Mahomet II. ; and, standing like a rock in front 
of Christendom, it rolled back for years the tide of war, 
till its walls were at last crumbled to a heap of ruins 
by Suleiman the Great, after a siege of many months. 

The next of Ptolemy's conquests was Coele-Syria; and 
soon after this the wars between these successors of 
Alexander were put an end to by the death of Antigonus, 
whose overtowering ambition was among the chief causes 
of quarrel. This happened at the great battle of Ipsus 
in Phrygia, where they all met, with more than eighty 


thousand men in each army. Antigonus, King of Asia 
Minor, was accompanied by his son Demetrius, and by 
Pyrrhus, King of Epirus; and he was defeated by Ptol- 
emy, King of Egypt, Seleucus, King of Babylon, Lysim- 
achus, King of Thrace, and Cassander, King of Mace- 
donia; and the old man lost his life fighting bravely. 
After the battle Demetrius fled to Cyprus, and yielded 
to the terms of peace which were imposed on him by 
the four allied sovereigns. He sent his friend Pyrrhus 
as a hostage to Alexandria; and there this young King 
of Epirus soon gained the friendship of Ptolemy and 
afterwards his stepdaughter in marriage. Ptolemy was 
thus left master of the whole of the southern coast of 
Asia Minor and Syria, indeed of the whole coast of the 
eastern end of the Mediterranean, from the island of 
Cos on the north to Cyrene on the south. 

During these formidable wars with Antigonus, Ptol- 
emy had never been troubled with any serious rising of 
the conquered Egyptians; and perhaps the wars may 
not have been without their use in strengthening his 
throne. The first danger to a successful conqueror is 
from the avarice and disappointment of his followers, 
who usually claim the kingdom as their booty, and who 
think themselves wronged and their past services for- 
gotten if any limit is placed to their tyranny over the 
conquered. But these foreign wars may have taught 
the Alexandrians that Ptolemy was not strong enough 
to ill-treat the Egyptians, and may thus have saved him 
from the indiscretion of his friends and from their re- 
proaches for ingratitude. 



In the late war, the little Dorian island of Cos on the 
■coast of Asia Minor fell, as we have seen, under the 
power of Ptolemy. This island was remarkable as being 
the first spot in Europe into which the manufacture of 

silk was introduced, which it prob- 
ably gained when under the power 
of Persia before the overthrow of 
Darius. The luxury of the Egyp- 
tian ladies, who affected to be over- 
heated by any clothing that could 
conceal their limbs, had long ago 
introduced a tight, thin dress 
which neither our climate nor no- 
tions of modesty would allow, and 
for this dress, silk, when it could 
be obtained, was much valued; and 
Pamphila of Cos had the glory of 
having woven webs so transparent 
that the Egyptian women were en- 
abled to display their fair forms 
yet more openly by means of this 
clothing. Cos continued always in 


used it as a royal fortress, occa- 
sionally sending their treasures and their children there 
as to a place of safety from Alexandrian rebellion; and 
there the silk manufacture flourished in secret for two 
or three centuries. When it ceased is unknown, as it 
was part of the merchants' craft to endeavour to keep 
each branch of trade to themselves, by concealing the 



channel through which they obtained their supply of 
goods, and many of the dresses which were sold in Rome 
under the emperors by the name of Coan robes may have 
been brought from the East through Alexandria. 

One of the most valuable gifts which Egypt owed to 
Ptolemy was its coinage. Even Thebes, " where treas- 
ures were largest in the houses," never was able to pass 
gold and silver from hand to hand without the trouble 
of weighing, and the doubt as to the fineness of the metal. 
The Greek merchants who crowded the markets of Cano- 
pus and Alexandria must have filled Lower Egypt with 
the coins of the cities from whence they came, all unlike 
one another in stamp and weight ; but, while every little 
city or even colony of Greece had its own coinage, Egypt 

had as yet very few coins 
of its own. We are even 
doubtful whether we 
know by sight those 
coined by the Persians 

COIN OF PTOLEMY SOTER, B. C. 302. Jg ft^ earfy y^g of p^. 

emy's government Ptolemy had issued a very few coins 
bearing the names of the young kings in whose name 
he held the country, but he seems not to have coined any 
quantity of money till after he had himself taken the 
title of king. His coins are of gold, silver, and bronze, 
and are in a fine style of Greek workmanship. Those 
of gold and silver bear on one side the portrait of the 
king, without a beard, having the head bound with the 
royal diadem, which, unlike the high priestly crown of 
the native Egyptian kings, or the modern crown of gold 



and precious stones, is a plain riband tied in a bow be- 
hind. On the other side they have the name of Ptolemy 
Soter, or King Ptolemy, with an eagle standing upon a 
thunderbolt, which was only another way of drawing 
the eagle and sun, the hieroglyphical characters for the 
title Pharaoh. The gold coins of Egypt were probably 
made in Alexandria. The coins are not of the same 
weight as those of Greece; but Ptolemy followed the 
Egyptian standard of weight, which was that to which 
the Jewish shekel was adjusted, and which was in use 


in the wealthy cities of Tyre and Sidon and Beryttus. 
The drachma weighs fifty-five grains, making the talent 
of silver worth about seven hundred and fifty dollars. 
Ptolemy's bronze coins have the head of Serapis or Jupi- 
ter in the place of that of the king, as is also the case 
with those of his successors; but few of these bronze 
pieces bear any marks from which we can learn the reign 
in which they were coined. They are of better metal 
than those of other countries, as the bronze is free from 
lead and has more tin in it. The historian, in his very 
agreeable labours, should never lose sight of the coins. 
They teach us by their workmanship the state of the 


arts, and by their weight, number, and purity of metal, 
the wealth of the country. They also teach dates, titles, 
and the places where they were struck; and even in 
those cases where they seem to add little to what we 
learn from other sources, they are still the living wit- 
nesses to which we appeal, to prove the truth of the 
authors who have told us more. 

The art of engraving coins did not flourish alone in 
Alexandria; painters and sculptors flocked to Egypt 
to enjoy the favours of Ptolemy. Apelles, indeed, whose 
paintings were thought by those who had seen them to 
surpass any that had been before painted, or were likely 
to be painted, had quarrelled with Ptolemy, who had 
known him well when he was the friend and painter of 
Alexander. Once when he was at Alexandria, some- 
body wickedly told him that he was invited to dine at 
the royal table, and when Ptolemy asked who it was 
that had sent his unwelcome guest, Apelles drew the 
face of the mischief-maker on the wall, and he was 
known to all the court by the likeness. It was, perhaps, 
at one of these dinners, at which Ptolemy enjoyed the 
society of the men of letters, or perhaps when visiting 
the philosophers in their schools, that he asked Euclid 
if he could not show him a shorter and easier way to 
the higher truths of mathematics than that by which 
he led the pupils in the Museum; and Euclid, as if to 
remind him of the royal roads of Persia, which ran by 
the side of the highroads, but were kept clear and free 
for the king's own use, made him the well-known answer, 
that there was no royal road to geometry. 


Ptolemy lived in easy familiarity with the learned 
men of Alexandria; and at another of these literary 
dinners, when Diodorus, the rhetorician, who was 
thought to have been the inventor of the Dilemma, was 
puzzled by a question put to him by Stilpo, the king in 
joke said that his name should be Cronus, a god who had 
been laughed at in the comedies. Indeed, he was so 
teased by Ptolemy for not being able to answer it, that 
he got up and left the room. He afterwards wrote a 
book upon the subject; but the ridicule was said to have 
embittered the rest of his life. This was the person 
against whom Callimachus, some years later, w r rote a 
bitter epigram, beginning " Cronus is a wise man." Dio- 
dorus was of the sceptical school of philosophy, which, 
though not far removed from the Cyrenaic school, was 
never popular in Alexandria. Among other paradoxes 
he used to deny the existence of motion. He argued 
that the motion was not in the place where the body 
moved from, nor in the place that the body moved to, 
and that accordingly it did not exist at all. Once he met 
with a violent fall which put his shoulder out of joint, 
and he applied to Herophilus, the surgeon, to set it. 
Herophilus began by asking him where the fall took 
place, whether in the place where the shoulder was, or 
in the place where it fell to; but the smarting philoso- 
pher begged him to begin by setting his limb, and 
they would talk about the existence of motion after 
the operation. 

Stilpo was at this time only on a visit to Ptolemy, 
for he had refused his offer of money and a professorship 


in the Museum, and had chosen to remain at Megara 
where he was the ornament of his birthplace. He had 
been banished from Athens for speaking against their 
gods, and for saying that the colossal Minerva was 
not the daughter of Jupiter, but of Phidias, the sculp- 
tor. His name as a philosopher stood so high that when 
Demetrius, in his late wars with Ptolemy, took the city 
of Megara by storm, the conqueror " bid spare the house 
of Stilpo, when temple and tower went to the ground; " 
and when Demetrius gave orders that Stilpo should be 
repaid for what he had lost in the siege, the philosopher 
proudly answered that he had lost nothing, and that he 
had no wealth but his learning. 

The historian Theopompus of Chios then came to 
Alexandria, and wrote an account of the wars between 
the Egyptians and the Persians. It is now lost, but it 
contained at least the events from the successful inva- 
sion by Artaxerxes Longimanus till the unsuccessful 
invasion by Artaxerxes Mnemon. 

No men of learning in Alexandria were more famous 
than the physicians. Erasistratus of Cos had the credit 
of having once cured Antiochus, afterwards King of 
Syria. He was the grandson of Aristotle, and may be 
called the father of the science of anatomy: his writings 
are often quoted by Dioscorides. Antiochus in his 
youth had fallen deeply in love with his young step- 
mother, and was pining away in silence and despair. 
Erasistratus found out the cause of his illness, which 
was straightway cured by Seleucus giving up his wife 
to his own son. This act strongly points out the changed 


opinions of the world as to the matrimonial relation; 
for it was then thought the father's best title to the name 
of Mcator; he had before conquered his enemies, but 
he then conquered himself. 

Erasistratus was the first who thought that a knowl- 
edge of anatomy should be made a part of the healing 
art. Before his time surgery and medicine had been 
deemed one and the same; they had both been studied 
by the slow and uncertain steps of experience, unguided 
by theory. Many a man who had been ill, whether 
through disease or wound, and had regained his health, 
thought it his duty to Esculapius and to his neighbours 
to write up in the temple of the god the nature of his 
ailings, and the simples to which he fancied that he owed 
his cure. By copying these loose but well-meant in- 
scriptions of medical cases, Hippocrates had, a century 
earlier, laid the foundations of the science; but nothing 
further was added to it till Erasistratus, setting at 
nought the prejudices in which he was born, began dis- 
secting the human body in the schools of Alexandria. 
There the mixing together of Greeks and Egyptians had 
weakened those religious feelings of respect for the dead 
which are usually shocked by anatomy; and this study 
flourished from the low tone of the morality as much 
as from the encouragement which good sense should 
grant to every search for knowledge. 

Herophilus lived about the same time with Erasis- 
tratus, and was, like him, famous for his knowledge of 
the anatomy of man. But so hateful was this study in 
the eyes of many, that these anatomists were charged, 


by writers who ought to have known better, with the 
cruelty of cutting men open when alive. They had few 
followers in the hated use of the dissecting-knife. It 
was from their writings that Galen borrowed the ana- 
tomical parts of his work; and thus it was to the dis- 
sections of these two great men, helped indeed by open- 
ing the bodies of animals, that the world owed almost 
the whole of its knowledge of the anatomy of man, till 
the fifteenth century, when surgeons were again bold 
enough to face the outcry of the mob, and to study the 
human body with the knife. 

Hegesias of Cyrene was an early lecturer on philos- 
ophy at Alexandria. His short and broken sentences are 
laughed at by Cicero, yet he was so much listened to, 
when lecturing against the fear of death, and showing 
that in quitting life we leave behind us more pains than 
pleasures, that he was stopped by Ptolemy Soter through 
fear of his causing self-murder among his hearers. He 
then wrote a book upon the same subject, for though the 
state watched over the public teaching, it took no notice 
of books; writing had not yet become the mightiest 
power on earth. The miseries, however, of this world, 
which he so eloquently and feelingly described in his 
lectures and writings, did not drive him to put an end 
to his own life. 

Philostephanus of Cyrene, the friend of Callimachus, 
was a naturalist who wrote upon fishes, and is the first 
investigator that we hear of who thought it desirable 
to limit his studies to one branch of the science of 
natural history. 


But Cyrene did not send all its great men to Alex- 
andria. Plato had studied mathematics there under 
Theodoras, and it had a school of its own which gave 
its name to the Cyrenaic sect. The founder of this sect 
was Aristippus, the pupil of Socrates who had missed 
the high honour of being present at his death. He was 
the first philosopher who took money from his pupils, 
and used to say that they valued their lessons more for 
having to pay for them; but he was blamed by his breth- 
ren for thus lowering the dignity of the teacher. He 
died several years before Ptolemy Soter came into Egypt. 
The Cyrenaic sect thought happiness, not goodness, was 
the end to be aimed at through life, and selfishness, 
rather than kindness to others, the right spring of men's 
actions. It would hardly be fair to take their opinions 
from the mouths of their enemies; and the dialogues 
of Socrates, with their founder, as told to us by Xeno- 
phon, would prove a lower tone of morality than he is 
likely to have held. The wish for happiness and the 
philosophical love of self, which should lead to goodness, 
though a far worse rule of life than the love of goodness 
for its own sake, which is the groundwork of religion, 
was certainly far better than unguided passion and the 
love of to-day's pleasure. But often as this unsafe rule 
has been set up for our guidance, there have always been 
found many to make use of it in a way not meant by the 
teacher. The Cyrenaic sect soon fell into the disrepute 
to which these principles were likely to lead it, and 
wholly ceased when Epicurus taught the same opinions 
more philosophically. 


Anniceris of Cyrene, though a follower of Aristippus, 
somewhat improved upon the low-toned philosophy of 
his master. He granted that there were many things 
worth our aim, which could not be brought within the 
narrow bounds of what is useful. He did not overlook 
friendship, kindness, honouring our parents, and serv- 
ing our country; and he thought that a wise man would 
undertake many labours which would bring him no re- 
turn in the things which were alone thought happiness. 

The chair of philosophy at Cyrene was afterwards 
filled by Arete, the daughter of Aristippus; for such 
were the hindrances in the way of gaining knowledge, 
that few could be so well qualified to teach as the philos- 
opher's daughter. Books were costly, and reading by 
no means a cheap amusement. She was followed, after 
her death, by her son Aristippus, who, having been 
brought up in his mother's lecture-room, was called, in 
order to distinguish him from his grandfather of the 
same name, Metrodidactus, or mother-taught. History 
has not told us whether he took the name himself in 
gratitude for the debt which he owed to this learned 
lady, or whether it was given him by his pupils; but in 
either case it was a sure way of giving to the mother 
the fame which was due to her for the education of her 
son; for no one could fail to ask who was the mother 
of Metrodidactus. 

Theodorus, one of the pupils of Metrodidactus, 
though at one time banished from Cyrene, rose to honour 
under Soter, and was sent by him as ambassador to 
Lysimachus. He was called the Atheist by his enemies, 


and the Divine by his friends, but we cannot now deter- 
mine which title he best deserved. It was then usual 
to call those atheists who questioned the existence of 
the pagan gods; and we must not suppose that all who 
suffered under that reproach denied that the world was 
governed by a ruling providence. The disbeliever in 
the false religion of the many is often the only real 
believer in a God. Theodorus was of the cold school of 
philosophy, which was chiefly followed in Alexandria. 
It was earthly, lifeless, and unpoetical, arising from 
the successful cultivation of the physical sciences, not 
enough counteracted by the more ennobling pursuits of 
poetry and the fine arts. Hence, while commerce and 
the arts of production were carried to higher perfection 
than at any former time, and science was made greatly 
to assist in the supply of our bodily wants, the arts of 
civilisation, though by no means neglected, were cul- 
tivated without any lofty aim, or any true knowledge 
of their dignity. 

Antiphilus, who was born in Egypt and had studied 
painting under Ctesidemus, rose to high rank as a painter 
in Alexandria. Among his best-known pictures were 
the bearded Bacchus, the young Alexander, and Hip- 
polytus, or rather his chariot-horses, frightened by the 
bull. His boy, blowing up a fire with his mouth, was 
much praised for the mouth of the boy, and for the light 
and shade of the room. His Ptolemy hunting was also 
highly thought of. Antiphilus showed a mean jealousy 
of Apelles, and accused him of joining in a plot against 
the king, for which the painter narrowly escaped 



punishment; but Ptolemy, finding that the charge was 
not true, sent Apelles a gift of one hundred talents 
to make amends. The angry feelings of Apelles were 
by no means cooled by this gift, but they boiled over 
in his great picture of Calumny. On the right of the 
picture sat Ptolemy, holding out his hand to Calumny, 
who was coming up to him. On each side of the king 
stood a woman who seemed meant for Ignorance and 


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Suspicion. Calumny was a beautiful maiden, but with 
angry and deep-rooted malice in her face: in her left 
hand was a lighted torch, and with her right she was 
dragging along by the hair a young man, who was 
stretching forth his hands to heaven, and calling upon 
the gods to bear witness that he was guiltless. Before 
her walked Envy, a pale, hollow-eyed, diseased man, 
perhaps a portrait of the accuser; and behind were two 
women, Craft and Deceit, who were encouraging and 
supporting her. At a distance stood Repentance, in the 


ragged, black garb of mourning, who was turning away 
her face for shame as Truth came up to her. 

Ptolemy Soter was plain in his manners, and scarcely 
surpassed his own generals in the costliness of his way 
of life. He often dined and slept at the houses of his 
friends; and his own house had so little of the palace, 
that he borrowed dishes and tables of his friends when 
he asked any number of them to dine with him in return, 
saying that it was the part of a king to enrich others 
rather than to be rich himself. Before he took the title 
of king, he styled himself, and was styled by friendly 
states, by the simple name of Ptolemy the Macedonian; 
and during the whole of his reign he was as far from 
being overbearing in his behaviour as from being king- 
like in his dress and household. Once when he wished 
to laugh at a boasting antiquary, he asked him, what 
he knew could not be answered, who was the father of 
Peleus; and the other let his wit so far get the better 
of his prudence as in return to ask the king, who had 
perhaps never heard the name of his own grandfather, 
if he knew who was the father of Lagus. But Ptolemy 
took no further notice of this than to remark that if a 
king cannot bear rude answers he ought not to ask rude 

An answer which Ptolemy once made to a soothsayer 
might almost be taken as the proverb which had guided 
him through life. When his soldiers met with an anchor 
in one of their marches, and were disheartened on being 
told by the soothsayer that it was a proof that they ought 
to stop where they then were, the king restored their 


courage by remarking, that an anchor was an omen of 
safety, not of delay. 

Ptolemy's first children were by Thais, the noted 
courtesan, but they were not thought legitimate. Leon- 
tiscus, the eldest, we afterwards hear of fighting bravely 
against Demetrius; of the second, named Lagus after 
his grandfather, we hear nothing. 

He then married Eurydice, the daughter of Antipater, 
by whom he had several children. The eldest son, Ptol- 
emy, was named Ceraunus, the Thunderer, and was ban- 
ished by his father from Alexandria. In his distress 
he fled to Seleucus, by whom he was kindly received; 
but after the death of Ptolemy Soter he basely plotted 
against Seleucus and put him to death. He then defeated 
in battle Antigonus, the son of Demetrius, and got pos- 
session of Macedonia for a short time. He married his 
half-sister Arsinoe, and put her children to death; and 
was soon afterwards put to death himself by the Gauls, 
who were either fighting against him or were mercenaries 
in his own army. Another son of Ptolemy and Eurydice 
was put to death by Ptolemy Philadelphus, for plotting 
against his throne, to which, as the elder brother, he 
might have thought himself the best entitled. Their 
daughter Lysander married Agathocles, the son of Ly- 
simachus; but when Agathocles was put to death by his 
father, she fled to Egypt with her children, and put her- 
self under Ptolemy's care. 

Ptolemy then, as we have seen, asked in marriage 
the hand of Cleopatra, the sister of Alexander; but on 
her death he married Berenice, a lady who had come into 


Egypt with Eurydice, and had formed part of her house- 
hold. She was the widow of a man named Philip; and 
she had by her first husband a son named Magas, whom 
Ptolemy made governor of Cyrene, and a daughter, An- 
tigone, whom Ptolemy gave in marriage to Pyrrhus when 
that young king was living in Alexandria as hostage 
for Demetrius. 

Berenice's mildness and goodness of heart were use- 
ful in softening her husband's severity. Once, when 
Ptolemy was unbending his mind at a game of dice with 
her, one of his officers came up to his side, and began 
to read over to him a list of 
criminals who had been con- 
demned to death, with their 
crimes, and to ask his pleasure 
on each. Ptolemy continued 
playing, and gave very little 
attention to the unhappy tale; 
but Berenice's feelings over- 
came the softness of her char- 
acter, and she took the paper 
out of the officer's hand, and 


would not let him finish read- 
ing it; saying it was very unbecoming in the king to 
treat the matter so lightly, as if he thought no more 
of the loss of a life than the loss of a throw. 

With Berenice Ptolemy spent the rest of his years 
without anything to trouble the happiness of his family. 
He saw their elder son, Ptolemy, whom we must call 
by the name which he took late in life, Philadelphus, 


grow up everything that he could wish him to be; and, 
moved alike by his love for the mother and by the good 
qualities of the son, he chose him as his successor on 
the throne, instead of his eldest son, Ptolemy Ceraunus, 
who had shown, by every act in his life, his unfitness for 
the royal position. 

His daughter Arsinoe married Lysimachus in his old 
age, and urged him against his son, Agathocles, the hus- 
band of her own sister. She afterwards married her 
half-brother, Ptolemy Ceraunus; and lastly became the 
wife of her brother Philadelphus. Argaeus, the youngest 
son of Ptolemy, was put to death by Philadelphus on 
a charge of treason. Of his youngest daughter Philotera 
we know nothing, except that her brother Philadelphus 
afterwards named a city on the coast of the Red Sea 
after her. 

After the last battle with Demetrius, Ptolemy had 
regained the island of Cyprus and Coele-Syria, including 
Judaea; and his throne became stronger as his life drew 
to an end. With a wisdom rare in kings and conquerors, 
he had never let his ambition pass his means; he never 
aimed at universal power; and he was led, both by his 
kind feelings and wise policy, to befriend all those states 
which, like his own, were threatened by that mad ambi- 
tion in others. 

His history of Alexander's wars is lost, and we there- 
fore cannot judge of his merits as an author; but we 
may still point out with pleasure how much his people 
gained from his love of letters; though indeed we do 
not need the example of Ptolemy to show that learning 


and philosophy are as much in place, and find as wide a 
field of usefulness, in governing a kingdom as in the 
employments of the teacher, the lawyer, or the physician, 
who so often claim them as their own. 

His last public act, in the thirty-eighth year of his 
reign, was ordered by the same forbearance which had 
governed every part of his life. Feeling the weight of 
years press heavily upon him, that he was less able than 
formerly to bear the duties of his office, and wishing to 
see his son firmly seated on the throne, he laid aside his 
diadem and his title, and, without consulting either the 
army or the capital, proclaimed Ptolemy, his son by 
Berenice, king, and contented himself with the modest 
rank of somatophylax, or satrap, to his successor. He 
had used his power so justly that he was not afraid to 
lay it down ; and he has taught us how little of true great- 
ness there is in rank by showing how much more there 
is in resigning it. This is perhaps the most successful 
instance known of a king, who had been used to be 
obeyed by armies and by nations, willingly giving up his 
power when he found his bodily strength no longer equal 
to it. Ptolemy Soter had the happiness of having a son 
willing to follow in the track which he had laid down 
for him, and of living to see the wisdom of his own laws 
proved by the well-being of the kingdom under his son 
and successor. 

But while we are watching the success of Ptolemy's 
plans, and the rise of this Greek monarchy at Alexandria, 
we cannot help being pained with the thought that the 
Kopts of Upper Egypt are forgotten, and asking whether 




it would not have been still better to have raised Thebes 
to the place which it once held, and to have recalled the 
days of Ramses, instead of trying what might seem the 
hopeless task of planting Greek arts in Africa. But a re- 
view of this history will show that, as far as human fore- 
thought can judge, this could not have been done. A 
people whose religious opinions were fixed against all 
change, like the pillars upon which they were carved, 
and whose philosophy had not noticed that men's minds 
were made to move forward, had no choice but to be left 

behind and trampled on, as their more 
active neighbours marched onwards in 
the path of improvement. If Thebes had 
fallen only on the conquest by Cambyses, 
if the rebellions against the Persians had 
been those of Kopts throwing off their 
chains and struggling for freedom, we 
might have hoped to have seen Egypt, 
on the fall of Darius, again rise under 
kings of the blood and language of the 
people ; and we should have thought the 
gilded and half -hid chains of the Ptol- 
emies were little better than the heavy 
yoke of the Persians. This, however, is 
very far from having been the case. We 
first see the kings of Lower Egypt guarding their thrones 
at Sais by Greek soldiers; and then, that every struggle 
of Inarus, of Nectanebo, and of Tachos, against the Per- 
sians, was only made by the courage and arms of Greeks 
hired in the Delta by Egyptian gold. During the three 





hundred years before Alexander was hailed by Egypt 
as its deliverer, scarcely once had the Kopts, trusting 
to their own courage, stood up in arms against either 
Persians or Greeks; and the country was only then con- 
quered without a battle because the 
power and arms were already in the 
hands of the Greeks; because in the 
mixed races of the Delta the Greeks 
were so far the strongest, though not 
the most numerous, that a Greek king- 
dom rose there with the same ease, 
and for the same reasons, that an Arab 
kingdom rose in the same place nine 
centuries later. 

Moral worth, national pride, love 
of country, and the better feelings of 
clanship are the chief grounds upon 
which a great people can be raised. 
These feelings are closely allied to 
self-denial, or a willingness on the 
part of each man to give up much for 
the good of the whole. By this, chiefly, 
public monuments are built, and citi- 
zens stand b3^ one another in battle; 
and these feelings were certainly 
strong in Upper Egypt in the days 
of its greatness. But, when the throne was moved to 
Lower Egypt, when the kingdom was governed by the 
kings of Sai's, and even afterwards, when it was strug- 
gling against the Persians, these virtues were wanting, 




and they trusted to foreign hirelings in their struggle 
for freedom. The Delta was peopled by three races of 
men, Kopts, Greeks, and Phoenicians, or Arabs; and 
even before the sceptre was given to the Greeks by 
Alexander's conquests, we have seen that the Kopts had 
lost the virtues needed to hold it„ 





WE know of few princes who ever mounted a throne 

with such fair prospects before them as the second 

Ptolemy. He was born in Cos, an island on the coast 

of Caria, which the Ptolemies kept as a family fortress, 

safe from Egyptian rebellion and Alexandrian rudeness, 

and, while their fleets were masters of the sea, safe from 

foreign armies. He had been brought up with great care, 

and, being a younger son, was not spoilt by that flattery 

which in all courts is so freely offered to the heir. He 

first studied letters and philosophy under Philetas of Cos, 

an author of some elegies and epigrams now lost; and 

as he grew up, he found himself surrounded by all the 

philosophers and writers with whom his father mixed on 




the easiest terms of friendship. During the long reign 
of Ptolemy Soter the people had been made happy by 

wise regulations and good laws, trade 
had been flourishing, the cities had 
greatly prospered, and the fortresses 
had been everywhere strengthened. 
The Grecian troops were well trained, 
their loyalty undoubted, and the 
Egyptians were enrolled in a pha- 
lanx, armed and disciplined like the 
Macedonians. The population of the 
country was counted at seven mil- 
lions. Alexandria, the capital of 
the kingdom, was not only the larg- 
est trading city in the world, but 
was one of the most favoured seats 
of learning. It surely must have been 
easy to foresee that the prince, then 
mounting the throne, even if but slightly gifted with 
virtues, would give his name to a reign which could not 
be otherwise than remarkable in the history of Egypt. 
But Philadelphus, though like his father he was not free 
from the vices of his times and of his rank, had more of 
wisdom than is usually the lot of kings ; and, though we 
cannot but see that he was only watering the plants and 
gathering the fruit where his father had planted, yet 
we must at the same time acknowledge that Philadelphus 
was a successor worthy of Ptolemy Soter. He may have 
been in the twenty-third year of his age when his father 
gave up to him the cares and honours of royalty. 



The first act of his reign, or rather the last of his 
father's reign, was the proclamation, or the ceremony, 
of showing the new king to the troops and people. All 
that was dazzling, all that was costly or curious, all that 
the wealth of Egypt could buy or the gratitude of the 
provinces could give, was brought forth to grace this 
religious show, which, as we learn from the sculptures in 
the old tombs, was copied rather from the triumphs of 
Ramses and Thutmosis than from anything that had 
been seen in Greece. 

The procession began with the pomp of Osiris, at the 
head of which were the Sileni in scarlet and purple 
cloaks, who opened the way through the crowd. Twenty 
satyrs followed on each side of the road, bearing torches; 
and then Victories with golden wings, clothed in skins, 
each with a golden staff six cubits long, twined round 
with ivy. An altar was carried next, covered with golden 
ivy-leaves, with a garland of golden vine-leaves tied with 
white ribands; and this was followed by a hundred and 
twenty boys in scarlet frocks, carrying bowls of crocus, 
myrrh, and frankincense, which made the air fragrant 
with the scent. Then came forty dancing satyrs crowned 
with golden ivy-leaves, with their naked bodies stained 
with gay colours, each carrying a crown of vine leaves 
and gold; then two Sileni in scarlet cloaks and white 
boots, one having the hat and wand of Mercury and the 
other a trumpet; and between them walked a man, six 
feet high, in tragic dress and mask, meant for the Year, 
carrying a golden cornucopia. He was followed by a 
tall and beautiful woman, meant for the Lustrum of five 


years, carrying in one hand a crown and in the other 
a palm-branch. Then came an altar, and a troop of satyrs 
in gold and scarlet, carrying golden drinking-cups. 

Then came Philiscus the poet, the priest of Osiris, 
with all the servants of the god; then the Delphic tri- 
pods, the prizes which were to be given in the wrestling 
matches; that for the boys was nine cubits high, and that 
for the men twelve cubits high. Next came a four- 
wheeled car, fourteen cubits long and eight wide, drawn 
along by one hundred and eighty men, on which was the 
statue of Osiris, fifteen feet high, pouring wine out of a 
golden vase, and having a scarlet frock down to his feet, 
with a yellow transparent robe over it, and over all a 
scarlet cloak. Before the statue was a large golden bowl, 
and a tripod with bowls of incense on it. Over the whole 
was an awning of ivy and vine leaves; and in the same 
chariot were the priests and priestesses of the god. 

This was followed by a smaller chariot drawn by 
sixty men, in which was the statue of Isis in a robe of 
yellow and gold. Then came a chariot full of grapes, 
and another with a large cask of wine, which was poured 
out on the road, as the procession moved on, and at which 
the eager crowd filled their jugs and drinking-cups. 
Then came another band of satyrs and Sileni, and more 
chariots of wine; then eighty Delphic vases of silver, 
and Panathenaic and other vases; and sixteen hundred 
dancing boys in white frocks and golden crowns: then 
a number of beautiful pictures; and a chariot carrying 
a grove of trees, out of which flew pigeons and doves, so 
tied that they might be easily caught by the crowd. 


On another chariot, drawn by an elephant, came 
Osiris, as he returned from his Indian conquests. He 
was followed by twenty-four chariots drawn by ele- 
phants, sixty drawn by goats, twelve by some kind of 
stags, seven by gazelles, four by wild asses, fifteen by 
buffaloes, eight by ostriches, and seven by stags of some 
other kind. Then came chariots loaded with the tributes 
of the conquered nations; men of Ethiopia carrying six 
hundred elephants' teeth; sixty huntsmen leading two 
thousand four hundred dogs; and one hundred and fifty 
men carrying trees, in the branches of which were tied 
parrots and other beautiful birds. Next walked the 
foreign animals, Ethiopian and Arabian sheep, Brahmin 
bulls, a white bear, leopards, panthers, bears, a camelo- 
pard, and a rhinoceros; proving to the wondering crowd 
the variety and strangeness of the countries that owned 
their monarch's sway. 

In another chariot was seen Bacchus running away 
from Juno, and flying to the altar of Rhea. After that 
came the statues of Alexander and Ptolemy Soter 
crowned with gold and ivy: by the side of Ptolemy 
stood the statues of Virtue, of the god Chem, and of 
the city of Corinth; and he was followed by female 
statues of the conquered cities of Ionia, Greece, Asia 
Minor, and Persia; and the statues of other gods. Then 
came crowds of singers and cymbal-players, and two 
thousand bulls with gilt horns, crowns, and breast-plates. 
Then came Amon-Ra and other gods; and the statue 
of Alexander between Victory and the goddess Neith, 
in a chariot drawn by elephants: then a number of 


thrones of ivory and gold; on one was a golden crown, 
on another a golden cornucopia, and on the throne of 
Ptolemy Soter was a crown worth ten thousand aurei, 
or nearly thirty thousand dollars; then three thousand 
two hundred golden crowns, twenty golden shields, 
sixty-four suits of golden armour; and the whole was 
closed with forty waggons of silver vessels, twenty of 
golden vessels, eighty of costly Eastern scents, and fifty- 
seven thousand six hundred foot soldiers, and twenty- 
three thousand two hundred horse. The procession 


began moving by torchlight before day broke in the 
morning, and the sun set in the evening before it had all 
passed on its way. 

It went through the streets of Alexandria to the royal 
tents on the outside of the city, where, as in the proces- 
sion, everything that was costly in art, or scarce in 
nature, was brought together in honour of the day. At 
the public games, as a kind of tax or coronation money, 
twenty golden crowns were given to Ptolemy Soter, 
twenty-three to Berenice, and twenty to their son, the 
new king, beside other costly gifts; and two thousand 
two hundred and thirty-nine talents, or one million seven 
hundred and fifty thousand dollars, were spent on the 


amusements of the day. For the account of this curious 
procession we are indebted to Callixenes of Rhodes, who 
was then travelling in Egypt, and who wrote a history 
of Alexandria. 

Ptolemy Soter lived two years after he had with- 
drawn himself from the cares of government; and the 
weight of his name was not without its use in adding 
steadiness to the throne of his successor. Instead of 
parcelling out his wide provinces among his sons as so 
many kingdoms, he had given them all to one son, and 
that not the eldest; and on his death the jealousy of 
those who had been disinherited and disappointed broke 
out in rebellion. 

It is with peculiar interest that we hear in this reign 
for the first time that the bravery and rising power of 
the Romans had forced themselves into the notice of 
Philadelphus. Pjrrrhus, the King of Epirus, had been 
beaten by the Romans, and driven out of Italy; and the 
King of Egypt thought it not beneath him to send an 
ambassador to the senate, to wish them joy of their suc- 
cess, and to make a treaty of peace with the republic. 
The embassy, as we might suppose, was received in 
Rome with great joy; and three ambassadors, two of 
the proud name of Fabius, with Quintus Ogulnius, were 
sent back to seal the treaty. Philadelphus gave them 
some costly gifts, probably those usually given to am- 
bassadors; but Rome was then young, her citizens had 
not yet made gold the end for which they lived, and the 
ambassadors returned the gifts, for they could receive 
nothing beyond the thanks of the senate for having done 


their duty. This treaty was never broken; and in the 
war which broke out in the middle of this reign between 
Rome and Carthage, usually called the first Punic war, 
when the Carthaginians sent to Alexandria to beg for 
a loan of two thousand talents, Philadelphus refused it, 
saying that he would help them against his enemies, 
but not against his friends. 

From that time forward we find Egypt in alliance 
with Rome. But we also find that they were day by 
day changing place with one another: Egypt soon began 
to sink, while Rome was rising in power; Egypt soon 
received help from her stronger ally, and at last became 
a province of the Roman empire. 

At the time of this embassy, when Greek arts were 
nearly unknown to the Romans, the ambassadors must 
have seen much that was new to them, and much that 
was worth copying; and three years afterwards, when 
one of them, Quintus Ogulnius, together with Caius 
Fabius Pictor, were chosen consuls, they coined silver 
for the first time in Rome. With them begins the series 
of consular denarii, which throws such light on Roman 
life and history. 

About the middle of this reign, Berenice, the mother 
of the king, died, and it was most likely then that Phila- 
delphus began to date from the beginning of his own 
reign : he had before gone on like his father, dating from 
the beginning of his father's reign. In the year after 
her death, the great feast of Osiris, in the month of 
Mesore, was celebrated at Alexandria with more than 
usual pomp by the Queen Arsinoe. Venus, or Isis, had 

j iTfl mtunffii-itiii m m m '" '" | || | fl ""C ffi^ 




just raised Berenice to heaven; and Arsinoe, in return, 
showed her gratitude by the sums of money spent on 
the feast of Osiris, or Adonis as he was sometimes called 
by the Greeks. Theocritus, who was there, wrote a poem 
on the day, and tells us of the crowds in the streets, of 
the queen's gifts to the temple, and of the beautiful 
tapestries, on which were woven the figures of the god 
and goddess breathing as if alive; and he has given a 
free translation of the Maneros, the national poem in 
which the priests each year consoled the goddess Isis 
for the death of Osiris, which was sung through the 
streets of Alexandria by a Greek girl in the procession. 
One of the chief troubles in the reign of Philadelphus 
was the revolt of Cyrene. The government of that part 
of Africa had been entrusted to Magas, the half-brother 
of the king, a son of Berenice by her former husband. 
Berenice, who had been successful in setting aside 
Ceraunus to make room for her son Philadelphus on 
the throne of Egypt, has even been said to have favoured 
the rebellious and ungrateful efforts of her elder son 
Magas to make himself King of Cyrene. Magas, with- 
out waiting till the large armies of Egypt were drawn 
together to crush his little state, marched hastily towards 
Alexandria, in the hopes of being joined by some of the 
restless thousands of that crowded city. But he was 
quickly recalled to Cyrene by the news of the rising of 
the MarmaridaB, the race of Libyan herdsmen that had 
been driven back from the coast by the Greek settlers 
who founded Cyrene. Philadelphus then led his army 
along the coast against the rebels; but he was, in the 


same way, stopped by the fear of treachery among his 
own Gallic mercenaries. With a measured cruelty which 
the use of foreign mercenaries could alone have taught 
him, he led back his army to the marshes of the Delta, 
and, entrapping the four thousand distrusted Gauls 1 on 
one of the small islands, he hemmed them in between 
the water and the spears of the phalanx, and they all 
died miserably, by famine, by drowning, or by the sword. 

Magas had married Apime, the daughter of Antiochus 
Soter, King of Syria; and he sent to his father-in-law 
to beg him to march upon Coele-Syria and Palestine, to 
call off the army of Philadelphus from Cyrene. But 
Philadelphus did not wait for this attack: his armies 
moved before Antiochus was ready, and, by a successful 
inroad upon Syria, he prevented any relief being sent 
to Magas. 

After the war between the brothers had lasted some 
years, Magas made an offer of peace, which was to be 
sealed by betrothing his only child, Berenice, to the son 
of Philadelphus. To this offer Philadelphus yielded; as 
by the death of Magas, who was already worn out by 
luxury and disease, Cyrene would then fall to his own 
son. Magas, indeed, died before the marriage took place; 
but, notwithstanding the efforts made by his widow to 
break the agreement, the treaty was kept, and on this 
marriage Cyrene again formed part of the Ptolemaic 
kingdom of Egypt. 

1 It is not known for certain from what part of the world these Gauls were re- 
cruited. The race known as Gallic was at one time spread over a wide district 
from Gallicia in the East to Gallia in the West. 







I— I 




The black spot upon the character of Philadelphus, 
which all the blaze of science and letters by which he was 
surrounded can not make us overlook, is the death of 
two of his brothers : a son of Eurydice, who might, per- 
haps, have thought that he was robbed of the throne 
of Egypt by his younger brother, and who was unsuc- 
cessful in raising the island of Cyprus in rebellion; and 
a younger brother, Argaeus, who was also charged with 
joining in a plot; both lost their lives by his orders. 

It was only in the beginning of this reign, after Egypt 
had been for more than fifty years under the rule of the 
Macedonians, that the evils which often follow conquest 
were brought to an end. Before this reign no Greek was 
ever known to have reached Elephantine and Syene or 
Aswan since Herodotus made his hasty tour in the 
Thebaid; and during much of the last reign no part of 
Upper Egypt was safe for a Greek traveller, if he were 
alone, or if he quitted the highroad. The peasants, 
whose feelings of hatred we can hardly wonder at, way- 
laid the stragglers, and Egyptian-like as the Greeks said, 
or slave-like as it would be wiser to say, often put them 
to death in cold blood. But a long course of good gov- 
ernment had at last quieted the whole country, and left 
room for further improvements by Philadelphus. 

Among other buildings, Philadelphus raised a temple 
in Alexandria to the honour of his father and mother, 
and placed in it their statues, made of ivory and gold, 
and ordered that they should be worshipped like the 
gods and other kings of the country. He also built a 
temple to Ceres and Proserpine, and then the Eleusinian 



mysteries were taught in Alexandria to the few who 
were willing and worthy to be admitted. The south- 
east quarter of the city in which this temple stood was 
called the Eleusinis; and here the troop of maidens were 
to be seen carrying the sacred basket through the streets, 

and singing hymns in 
honour of the goddess; 
while they charged all 
profane persons, who 
met the procession, to 
keep their eyes upon the 
ground, lest they should 
see the basket and the 
priestesses, who were 
too pure for them to 
look upon. 

In this reign was 
finished the lighthouse 
on the island of Pharos, 
as a guide to ships when 
entering the harbour of 
Alexandria by night. 
The navigation of the 
waters of the Red Sea, 
along which the wind blows hard from the north for nine 
months in the year, was found so dangerous by the little 
vessels from the south of Arabia, that they always chose 
the most southerly port in which they could meet the 
Egyptian buyers. The merchants with their bales of 
goods found a journey on camels through the desert, 



where the path is marked only by the skeletons of the 
animals that have died upon the route, less costly than 
a coasting voyage. Hence, when Philadelphus had made 
the whole of Upper Egypt to the cataracts at Aswan 
(Syene) as quiet and safe as the Delta, he made a new 
port on the rocky coast of the Red Sea, nearly two hun- 
dred miles to the south of Cosseir, and named it Berenice 
after his mother. He also built four public inns, or water- 
ing-houses, where the caravans might find water for the 
camels, and shelter from the noonday sun, on their twelve 
days' journey through the desert from Koptos on the Nile 
to this new port. He rebuilt, and at the same time re- 
named, the old port of Cosseir, or iEnnum as it was before 
called, and named it Philotera after his younger sister. 
The trade which thus passed down the Nile from Syene, 
from Berenice, and from Philotera, paid a toll or duty 
at the custom-house station of Phylake a little below 
Lycopolis on the west bank of the river, where a guard 
of soldiers was encamped; and this station gradually 
grew into a town. 

Philadelphus also built a city on the sands at the head 
of the Red Sea, near where Suez now stands, and named 
it Arsinoe, after his sister; and he again opened the canal 
which Necho II. and Darius had begun, by which ships 
were to pass from the Nile to this city on the Red Sea. 
This canal began in the Pelusiac branch of the river, a 
little above Bubastis, and was carried to the Lower Bit- 
ter Lakes in the reign of Darius. From thence Phila- 
delphus wished to carry it forward to the Red Sea, near 
the town of Arsinoe, and moreover cleared it from the 


sands which soon overwhelmed it and choked it up when- 
ever it was neglected by the government. But his under- 
taking was stopped by the engineers finding the waters 
of the canal several feet lower than the level of the Red 
Sea; and that, if finished, it would become a salt-water 
canal, which could neither water the fields nor give drink 
to the cities in the valley. He also built a second city of 
the name of Berenice, called the Berenice Epidires, at 
the very mouth of the Red Sea on a point of land where 
Abyssinia is hardly more than fifteen miles from the 
opposite coast of Arabia. This naming of cities after his 
mother and sisters was no idle compliment; they prob- 
ably received the crown revenues of those cities for their 
personal maintenance. 

With a view further to increase the trade with the 
East, Philadelphus sent Dionysius on an expedition over- 
land to India, to gain a knowledge of the country and 
of its means and wants. He went by the way of the 
Caspian Sea through Bactria, in the line of Alexander's 
march. He dwelt there, at, the court of the sovereign, 
soon after the time that Megasthenes was there ; and he 
wrote a report of what he saw and learned. But it is 
sad to find, in our search for what is valuable in the his- 
tory of past times, that the information gained on this 
interesting journey of discovery is wholly lost. 

In the number of ports which were then growing into 
the rank of cities, we see full proof of the great trade of 
Egypt at that time; and we may form some opinion of 
the profit which was gained from the trade of the Red 
Sea from the report of Clitarchus to Alexander, that the 


people of one of the islands would give a talent of gold 
for a horse, so plentiful with them was gold, and so scarce 
the useful animals of Europe ; and one of the three towns 
named after the late queen, on that coast, was known by 
the name of the Nubian or Golden Berenice, from the 
large supply of gold which was dug from the mines in 
the neighbourhood. In latitude 17°, separated from the 
Golden Berenice by one of the forests of Ethiopia, was 
the new city of Ptolemais, which, however, was little more 
than a post from which the hunting parties went out to 
catch elephants for the armies of Egypt. Philadelphus 
tried to command, to persuade, and to bribe the neigh- 
bouring tribes not to kill these elephants for food, but 
they refused all treaty with him; these zealous huntsmen 
answered that, if he offered them the kingdom of Egypt 
with all its wealth, they would not give up the pleasure 
of catching and eating elephants. The Ethiopian forests, 
however, were able to supply the Egyptian armies with 
about one elephant for every thousand men, which was 
the number then thought best in the Greek military tac- 
tics. Asia had been the only country from which the 
armies had been supplied with elephants before Phila- 
delphus brought them from Ethiopia. 

The temple of Isis among the palm groves in Philse, 
a rocky island in the Nile near the cataracts of Syene, 
was begun in this reign, though not finished till some 
reigns later. It is still the wonder of travellers, and by 
its size and style proves the wealth and good taste of 
the priests. But its ornaments are not so simple as those 
of the older temples; and the capitals of its columns are 



varied by the full-blown papyrus flower of several sizes, 
its half-opened buds, its closed buds, and its leaves, and 
by palm-branches. It seems to have been built on the site 
of an older temple which may have been overthrown by 
the Persians. This island of Philae is the most beautiful 
spot in Egypt; where the bend of the river just above 
the cataracts forms a quiet lake surrounded on all sides 
by fantastic cliffs of red granite. Its name is a corruption 
from Abu-lakh, the city of the frontier. This temple 
was one of the places in which Osiris was said to be 
buried. None but priests ever set foot on this sacred 


island, and no oath was so binding as that sworn in the 
name of Him that lies buried in Philae. The statues of 
the goddess in the temple were all meant for portraits 
of the queen Arsinoe. The priests who dwelt in the cells 
within the courtyards of the temples of which we see 
the remains in this temple at Philae, were there confined 
for life to the service of the altar by the double force 
of religion and the stone walls. They showed their zeal 
for their gods by the amount of want which they were 
able to endure, and they thought that sitting upon the 
ground in idleness, with the knees up to the chin, was 
one of the first of religious duties. 


The Museum of Alexandria held at this time the high- 
est rank among the Greek schools, whether for poetry, 
mathematics, astronomy, or medicine, the four branches 
into which it was divided. Its library soon held two 
hundred thousand rolls of papyrus; which, however, 
could hardly have been equal to ten thousand printed 
volumes. Many of these were bought by Philadelphus 
in Athens and Rhodes; and his copy of Aristotle's works 
was bought of the philosopher Nileus, who had been a 
hearer of that great man, and afterwards inherited his 
books through Theophrastus, to whom they had been 
left by Aristotle. The books in the museum were of 
course all Greek; the Greeks did not study foreign lan- 
guages, and thought the Egyptian writings barbarous. 

At the head of this librarv had been Demetrius Pha- 
lereus, who, after ruling Athens with great praise, was 
banished from his country, and fled to Ptolemy Soter, 
under whom he consoled himself for the loss of power 
in the enjoyment of literary leisure. He was at the same 
time the most learned and the most polished of orators. 
He brought learning from the closet into the forum; and, 
by the soft turn which he gave to public speaking, made 
that sweet and lovely which had before been grave and 
severe. Cicero thought him the great master in the art 
of speaking, and seems to have taken him as the model 
upon which he wished to form his own style. He wrote 
upon philosophy, history, government, and poetry; but 
the only one of his works which has reached our time 
is his treatise on elocution; and the careful thought which 
he there gives to the choice of words and to the form of 



a sentence, and even the parts of a sentence, shows the 
value then set upon style. Indeed he seems rather to have 
charmed his hearers by the softness of his words than 
to have roused them to noble deeds by the strength of 
his thoughts. He not only advised Ptolemy Soter what 
books he should buy, but which he should read, and he 

chiefly recommended those on gov- 
ernment and policy; and it is alike 
to the credit of the king and of the 
librarian, that he put before him 
books which, from their praise of 
freedom and hatred of tyrants, few 
persons would even speak of in the 
presence of a king. But Demetrius 
had also been consulted by Soter 
about the choice of a successor, and 
had given his opinion that the crown 
ought to be left to his eldest son, and 
that wars would arise between his 
children if it were not so left; hence 
we can hardly wonder that, on the 
death of Soter, Demetrius should 
have lost his place at the head of the 
museum, and been ordered to leave 
Alexandria. He died, as courtiers say, in disgrace; and 
he was buried near Diospolis in the Busirite nome of the 
Delta. According to one account he was put to death 
by the bite of an asp, in obedience to the new king's 
orders, but this story is not generally credited; although 
this was not an uncommon way of inflicting death. 



Soon after this we find Zenodotus of Ephesus filling 
the office of librarian to the museum. He was a poet, 
who, with others, had been employed by Soter in the 
education of his children. He is also known as the first 
of those Alexandrian critics who turned their thoughts 
towards mending the text of Homer, and to whom we 
are indebted for the tolerably correct state of the great 
poet's works, which had become faulty through the care- 
lessness of the copiers. Zenodotus was soon followed 
by other critics in this task of editing Homer. But their 
labours were not approved of by all; and when Aratus 
asked Timon which he thought the best edition of the 
poet, the philosopher shrewdly answered, " That which 
has been least corrected. " 

At the head of the mathematical school was Euclid; 
who is, however, less known to us by what his pupils 
have said of him than by his own invaluable work on 
geometry. This is one of the few of the scientific writ- 
ings of the ancients that are still in use. The discoveries 
of the man of science are made use of by his successor, 
and the discoverer perhaps loses part of his reward when 
his writings are passed by, after they have served us 
as a stepping-stone to mount by. If he wishes his works 
to live with those of the poet and orator, he must, like 
them, cultivate those beauties of style which are fitted 
to his matter. Euclid did so; and his Elements have 
been for more than two thousand years the model for all 
writers on geometry. He begins at the beginning, and 
leads the learner, step by step, from the simplest prop- 
ositions, called axioms, which rest upon metaphysical 



rather than mathematical proof, to high geometrical 
truths. The mind is indeed sometimes wearied by being 
made to stop at every single step in the path, and wishes, 
with Ptolemy Soter, for a shorter road; but, upon the 
whole, Euclid's clearness has never been equalled. 

Ctesibus wrote on the theory of hydrostatics, and was 
the inventor of several water-engines; an application of 
mathematics which was much called for by the artificial 


irrigation of Egypt. He also invented that useful instru- 
ment, the water-clock, to tell the time after sunset. 

Among the best known of the men of letters who came 
to Alexandria to enjoy the patronage of Philadelphus 
was Theocritus. Many of his poems are lost; but his 
pastoral poems, though too rough for the polished taste 
of Quintilian, and perhaps more like nature than we wish 
any works of imitative art to be, have always been looked 
upon as the model of that kind of poetry. If his shep- 
herds do not speak the language of courtiers, they have 


at least a rustic propriety which makes us admire the 
manners and thoughts of the peasant. He repaid the 
bounty of the king in the way most agreeable to him; he 
speaks of him as one 

to freemen kind, 
Wise, fond of books and love, of generous mind ; 
Knows well his friend, but better knows his foe ; 
Scatters his wealth ; when asked he ne'er says No, 
But gives as kings should give. 

Idyll, xiv. 60. 

Theocritus boasted that he would in an undying poem 
place him in the rank of the demigods; and, writing with 
the pyramids and the Memnonium before his eyes, as- 
sured him that generosity towards the poets would do 
more to make his name live for ever than any building 
that he could raise. 

In a back street of Alexandria, in the part of the city 
named Eleusinis, near the temple of Ceres and Proser- 
pine, lived the poet Callimachus, earning his livelihood 
by teaching. But the writer of the Hymns could not 
long dwell so near the court of Philadelphus unknown 
and unhonoured. He was made professor of poetry in 
the museum, and even now repays tiie king and patron 
for what he then received. He was a man of great in- 
dustry, and wrote in prose and in all kinds of verse; 
but of these only a few hymns and epigrams have come 
down to our time. Egypt seems to have been the birth- 
place of the mournful elegy, and Callimachus w T as the 
chief of the elegiac poets. He was born at Cyrene ; and 
though, from the language in which he wrote, his thoughts 


are mostly Greek, yet he did not forget the place of his 
birth. He calls upon Apollo by the name of Carneus, 
because, after Sparta and Thera, Cyrene was his chosen 
seat. He paints Latona, weary and in pain in the island 
of Delos, as leaning against a palm-tree, by the side of 
the river Inopus, which, sinking into the ground, was 
to rise again in Egypt, near the cataracts of Syene; and, 
prettily pointing to Philadelphus, he makes Apollo, yet 
unborn, ask his mother not to give birth to him in the 
island of Cos, because that island was already chosen 
as the birthplace of another god, the child of the gods 
Soteres, who would be the copy of his father, and under 
whose diadem both Egypt and the islands would be proud 
to be governed by a Macedonian. 

The poet Philsetas, who had been the first tutor of 
Philadelphus, was in elegy second only to Callimachus; 
but Quintilian (while advising us about books, to read 
much but not many) does not rank him among the few 
first-rate poets by whom the student should form his 
taste; and his works are now lost. He was small and 
thin in person, and it was jokingly said of him that he 
wore leaden soles to his shoes lest he should be blown 
away by the wind. But in losing his poetry, we have 
perhaps lost the point of the joke. While these three, 
Theocritus, Callimachus, and Philsetas, were writing in 
Alexandria, the museum was certainly the chief seat of 
the muses. Athens itself could boast of no such poet 
but Menander, with whom Attic literature ended; and 
him Philadelphus earnestly invited to his court. He 
sent a ship to Greece on purpose to fetch him; but neither 


this honour nor the promised salary could make him 
quit his mother country and the schools of Athens; and, 
in the time of Pausanias, his tomb was still visited by 
the scholar on the road to the Pirasus, and his statue was 
still seen in the theatre. 

Strato, the pupil of Theophrastus, though chiefly 
known for his writings on physics, was also a writer on 
many branches of knowledge. He was one of the men 
of learning who had taken part in the education of Phil- 
adelphus; and the king showed his gratitude to his 
teacher by making him a present of eighty talents, or 
sixty thousand dollars. He was for eighteen years at the 
head of one of the Alexandrian schools. 

Timocharis, the astronomer, made some of his obser- 
vations at Alexandria in the last reign, and continued 
them through half of this reign. He began a catalogue 
of the fixed stars, with their latitudes and their longi- 
tudes measured from the equinoctial point; by the help 
of which Hipparchus, one hundred and fifty years after- 
wards, made the great discovery that the equinoctial 
point had moved. He has left an observation of the place 
of Venus, on the seventeenth day of the month of Mesore, 
in the thirteenth year of this reign, which by the modern 
tables of the planets is known to have been on the eighth 
day of October, b. c. 272; from which we learn that the 
first year of Philadelphus ended in October, b. c. 284, and 
the first year of Ptolemy Soter ended in October, b. c. 
322; thus fixing the chronology of these reigns with a 
certainty which leaves nothing to be wished for. Aris- 
tillus also made some observations of the same kind at 


Alexandria. Few of them have been handed down to us, 
but they were made use of by Hipparchus. 

Aristarchus, the astronomer of Samos, most likely 
came to Alexandria in the last reign, as some of his ob- 
servations were made in the very beginning of the reign 
of Philadelphus. He is the first astronomer who is 
known to have taken the true view of the solar system. 
He said that the sun was the centre round which the 
earth moved in a circle; and, as if he had foreseen that 
even in after ages we should hardly be able to measure 
the distance of the fixed stars, he said that the earth's 
yearly path bore no greater proportion to the hollow 
globe of the heavens in which the stars were set, than 
the point without size in the centre of a circle does to 
its circumference. But the work in which he proved 
these great truths, or perhaps threw out these happy 
guesses, is lost; and the astronomers who followed him 
clung to the old belief that the earth was the centre 
round which the sun moved. The only writings of Aris- 
tarchus which now remaii^i are his short work on the 
distances and magnitude of the sun and moon, in which 
the error in his results arises from the want of good 
observations, rather than from any mistake in his mathe- 
matical principles. 

Aratus, who was born in Cilicia, is sometimes counted 
among the pleiades, or seven stars of Alexandria. His 
Phenomena is a short astronomical poem, without life 
or feeling, which scarcely aims at any of the grace or 
flow of poetry. It describes the planets and the constel- 
lations one by one, and tells us what stars are seen in 


the head, feet, and other parts of each figure; and then 
the seasons, and the stars seen at night at each time 
of the year. When maps were little known, it must have 
been of great use, to learners; and its being in verse 
made it the more easy to remember. The value which 
the ancients set upon this poem is curiously shown by 
the number of Latin translations which were made from 
it. Cicero in his early youth, before he was known as 
an orator or philosopher, perhaps before he himself knew 
in which path of letters he was soon to take the lead, 
translated this poem. The next translation is by Ger- 
manicus Caesar, whose early death and many good qual- 
ities have thrown such a bright light upon his name. 
He shone as a general, as an orator, and as an author; 
but his Greek comedies, his Latin orations, and his poem 
on Augustus are lost, while his translation of Aratus 
is all that is left to prove that this high name in litera- 
ture was not given to him for his political virtues alone. 
Lastly Avienus, a writer in the reign of Diocletian, or 
perhaps of Theodosius, has left a rugged, unpolished 
translation of this much-valued poem. Aratus, the poet 
of the heavens, will be read, said Ovid, as long as the 
sun and moon shall shine. 

Sosibius was one of the rhetoricians of the museum 
who lived upon the bounty of Philadelphus. The king, 
wishing to laugh at his habit of verbal criticism, once 
told his treasurer to refuse his salary, and say that it 
had been already paid. Sosibius complained to the king, 
and the book of receipts was sent for, in which Philadel- 
phus found the names of Soter, Sosigines, Bion, and 



Apollonius, and showing to the critic one syllable of his 
name in each of those words, said that putting them 
together, they must be taken as the receipt for his salary. 
Other authors wrote on lighter matters. Apollodorus 
Gelous, the physician, addressed to Philadelphus a 
volume of advice as to which Greek wines were best 
fitted for his royal palate. The Italian and Sicilian were 
then unknown in Egypt, and those of the Thebaid were 
wholly beneath his notice, while the vine had as yet 
hardly been planted in the neighbourhood of Alexandria. 
He particularly praised the Naspercenite wine from the 
southern banks of the Black Sea, the Oretic from the 
island of Euboea; the (Eneatic from Locris; the Leuca- 
dian from the island of Leucas; and the Ambraciote 
from the kingdom of Epirus. But above all these he 

placed the Peparethian wine from the 
island of Peparethus, a wine which of 
course did not please the many, as this 
experienced taster acknowledges that 
nobody is likely to have a true relish 
for it till after six years' acquaintance. 
Such were the Greek authors who 
^~/f^> basked in the sunshine of royal favour 
■*—=**- at Alexandria; who could have told us, 

an athlete disport- if they had thought it worth their while, 

all that we now wish to know of the 


trade, religion, language, and early history of Egypt. 
But they thought that the barbarbians were not worth 
the notice of men who called themselves Macedonians. 
Philadelphus, however, thought otherwise; and by his 


command Manetho, an Egyptian, wrote in Greek a his- 
tory of Egypt, copied from the hieroglyphical writing 
on the temples, and he dedicated it to the king. We 
know it only in the quotations of Josephus and Julius 
Africanus, and what we have is little more than a 
list of kings' names. He was a priest of Heliopolis, 
the great seat of Egyptian learning. The general cor- 
rectness of Manetho 's history, which runs back for 
nearly two thousand years, is shown by our finding 
the kings' names agree with many Egyptian inscrip- 
tions. Manetho owes his reputation to the merit of 
being the first who distinguished himself as a writer 
and critic upon religion and philosophy, as well as 
chronology and history, using the Greek language, but 
drawing his materials from native sources, especially 
the Sacred Books. That he was " skilled in Greek 
letters " we learn from Josephus, who also declares 
that he contradicted many of Herodotus' erroneous state- 
ments. Manetho was better suited for the task of 
writing a history of Egypt than any of his contem- 
poraries. As an Egyptian he could search out and make 
use of all the native Egyptian sources, and, thanks 
to his knowledge of Greek, he could present them 
in a form intelligible to the Hellenes. It must be con- 
fessed that he has occasionally fallen into the error of 
allowing Greek thoughts and traditions to slip into his 
work. The great worth in Manetho 's work lies in the 
fact that he relates the history of Egypt based on monu- 
mental sources and charters preserved in the temples. 
Moreover, he treats quite impartially the times of the 


foreign rulers, which the form of the Egyptian history 
employed by Diodorus does not mention; but above all, 
Manetho gives us a list of Egyptian rulers arranged 
according to a regular system. But however important 
in this respect Manetho 's work may be, it must not be 
forgotten what difficulties he had to contend with in the 
writing of it, and what unreliable sources lay in these 
difficulties. He could not use the sources in the form 
in which he found them. He was obliged to re-write 
them, and he added to them synchronisms and relations 
to other peoples which necessarily exposed him to the 
dangers of colouring his report correspondingly. 

But a much greater difficulty consisted in the fact 
that the chronological reports of the earlier history were 
all arranged according to the reigning years of the rulers, 
so that Manetho was obliged to construct an era for his 
work. Boeckh was the first to discover with certainty 
the existence and form of this era. According to his 
researches, the whole work of Manetho is based upon 
Sothicycles of 1460 Julianic years. The Egyptian year 
was movable, and did not need the extra day every 
few years, but the consequence was that every year re- 
mained a quarter of a day behind the real year. ,When 
1460—1 years had elapsed this chronological error had 
mounted to a whole year, and so the movable year and 
the fixed year fell together again. It is this Sothic period 
which Manetho has employed in his account of Egyptian 
history. Besides his history, Manetho has left us a work 
on astrology, called Apotelesmatica, or Events, a work 
of which there seems no reason to doubt the genuineness. 


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It is a poem in hexameter verse, in good Greek, addressed 
to King Ptolemy, in which he calls, not only upon Apollo 
and the Muse, but, like a true Egyptian, upon Hermes, 
from whose darkly worded writings he had gained his 
knowledge. He says that the king's greatness might 
have been foretold from the places of Mars and the Sun 
at the time of his birth, and that his marriage with his 
sister Arsinoe arose from the places of Venus and Saturn 
at the same time. But while we smile at this being said 
as the result of astronomical calculations, we must re- 
member that for centuries afterwards, almost in our own 
time, the science of judicial astrology was made a branch 
of astronomy, and that the fault lay rather in the age 
than in the man; and we have the pain of thinking that, 
while many of the valuable writings by Manetho are lost, 
the copiers and readers of manuscripts have carefully 
saved for us this nearly worthless poem on astrology. 

Petosiris was another writer on astrology and as- 
tronomy who was highly praised by his friend Manetho ; 
and his calculations on the distances of the sun and 
planets are quoted by Pliny. His works are lost; but 
his name calls for our notice, as he must have been a 
native Egyptian, and a priest. Like Manetho, he also 
wrote on the calculation of nativities ; and the later Greek 
astrologers, when what they had foretold did not come 
to pass, were wont to lay the blame on Petosiris. The 
priests were believed to possess these and other super- 
natural powers; and to help their claims to be believed 
many of them practised ventriloquism. 

Timosthenes, the admiral under Philadelphus, must 


not be forgotten in this list of authors; for though his 
verses to Apollo were little worth notice, his voyages 
of discovery, and his work in ten books on harbours, 
placed him in the first rank among geographers. Colotes, 
a pupil and follower of Epicurus, dedicated to Philadel- 
phus a work of which the very title proves the nature 
of his philosophy, and how soon the rules of his master 
had fitted themselves to the habits of the sensualist. Its 
title was " That it is impossible even to support life ac- 
cording to the philosophical rules of any but the Epi- 
cureans." It was a good deal read and talked about; 
and three hundred years afterwards Plutarch thought 
it not a waste of time to write against it at some length. 

At a time when books were few, and far too dear to 
be within reach of the many, and indeed when the number 
of those who could read must have been small, other 
means were of course taken to meet the thirst after 
knowledge; and the chief of these were the public read- 
ings in the theatre. This was not overlooked by Phila- 
delphus, who employed Hegesias to read Herodotus, and 
Hermophantus to read Homer, the earliest historian and 
the earliest poet, the two authors who had taken deepest 
root in the minds of the Greeks. These public readings, 
which were common throughout Greece and its colonies, 
had not a little effect on the authors. They then wrote 
for the ear rather than the eye, to be listened to rather 
than to be read, which was one among the causes of Greek 
elegance and simplicity of style. 

Among others who were brought to Alexandria by the 
fame of Philadelphus* bounty was Zoilus, the gram- 


marian, whose ill-natured criticism on Homer's poems 
had earned for him the name of Homeromastix, or the 
scourge of Homer. He read his criticisms to Philadel- 
phus, who was so much displeased with his carping and 
unfair manner of finding fault, that he even refused to 
relieve him when in distress. The king told him, that 
while hundreds had earned a livelihood by pointing out 
the beauties of the Iliad and Odyssey in their public 
readings, surely one person who was so much wiser 
might be able to live by pointing out the faults. 

Timon, a tragic poet, was also one of the visitors to 
this court; but, as he was more fond of eating and drink- 
ing than of philosophy, we need not wonder at our know- 
ing nothing of his tragedies, or at his not being made a 
professor by Philadelphus. But he took his revenge on 
the better-fed philosophers of the court, in a poem in 
which he calls them literary fighting-cocks, who were 
being fattened by the king, and were always quarrelling 
in the coops of the museum. 

The Alexandrian men of science and letters main- 
tained themselves, some few by fees received from their 
pupils, others as professors holding salaries in the mu- 
seum, and others by civil employments under the gov- 
ernment. There was little to encourage in them the 
feelings of noble pride or independence. The first rank 
in Alexandria was held by the civil and military servants 
of the crown, who enjoyed the lucrative employments 
of receiving the taxes, hearing the lawsuits by appeal, 
and repressing rebellions. With these men the philoso- 
phers mixed, not as equals, but partaking of their wealth 


and luxuries, and paying their score with wit and 
conversation. There were no landholders in the city, as 
the soil of the country was owned by Egyptians ; and the 
wealthy trading classes, of all nations and languages, 
could bestow little patronage on Greek learning, and 
therefore little independence on its professors. 

Philadelphus was not less fond of paintings and 
statues than of books; and he seems to have joined the 
Achaian league as much for the sake of the pictures which 
Aratus, its general, was in the habit of sending to him, 
as for political reasons. Aratus, the chief of Sicyon, was 
an acknowledged judge of paintings, and Sicyon was 
then the first school of Greece. The pieces which he sent 
to Philadelphus were mostly those of Pamphilus, the 
master, and of Melanthius, the fellow-pupil, of Apelles. 
Pamphilus was famed for his perspective; and he is said 
to have received from every pupil the large sum of ten 
talents, or seven thousand five hundred dollars, a year. 
His best known pieces were, Ulysses in his ship, and the 
victory of the Athenians near the town of Phlius. It was 
through Pamphilus that, at first in Sicyon, and after- 
wards throughout all Greece, drawing was taught to boys 
as part of a liberal education. Neacles also painted for 
Aratus; and we might almost suppose that it was as a 
gift to the King of Egypt that he painted his Sea-fight 
between the Egyptians and the Persians, in which the 
painter shows us that it was fought within the mouth 
of the Nile by making a crocodile bite at an ass drinking 
on the shore. 

Helena, the daughter of Timon, was a painter of some 



note at this time, at Alexandria; but the only piece of 
hers known to us by name is the Battle of Issus, which 
three hundred years afterwards was hung up by Ves- 
pasian in the Temple of Peace at Rome. We must wonder 
at a woman choosing to paint the horrors and pains of 
a battle-piece; but, as we are not told what point of time 
was chosen, we may hope that it was after the battle, 


when Alexander, in his tent, raised up from their knees 
the wife and lovely daughter of Darius, who had been 
found among the prisoners. As for the Egyptians, they 
showed no taste in painting. Their method of drawing 
the human figure mathematically by means of squares, 
which was not unsuitable in working a statue sixty feet 
high, checked all flights of genius ; and it afterwards de- 
stroyed Greek art, when the Greek painters were idle 
enough to use it. We hear but little of the statues and 
sculptures made for Philadelphus; but we cannot help 


remarking that, while the public places of Athens were 
filled with the statues of the great and good men who 
had deserved well of their country, the statues which 
were most common in Alexandria were those of Cline, 
a favourite damsel, who filled the office of cup-bearer to 
the king of Egypt. 

The favour shown to the Jews by Ptolemy Soter was 
not withdrawn by his son. He even bought from his own 
soldiers and freed from slavery one hundred and twenty 
thousand men of that nation, who were scattered over 
Egypt. He paid for each, out of the royal treasury, one 
hundred and twenty drachmas, or about fifteen dollars, 
to those of his subjects who held them either by right 
of war or by purchase. In fixing the amount of the ran- 
som, the king would seem to have been guided by his 
Jewish advisers, as this is exactly equal to thirty shekels, 
the sum fixed by the Jewish law as the price of a slave. 
The Jews who lived in Lower Egypt, in the enjoyment 
of civil and religious liberty, looked upon that country 
as their home. They had already a Greek translation 
of either the whole or some part of their sacred writings, 
which had been made for those whose families had been 
for so many generations in Egypt that they could not 
read the language of their forefathers. But they now 
hoped, by means of the king's friendship and the weight 
which his wishes must carry with them, to have a Greek 
translation of the Bible which should bear the stamp of 
official authority. 

Accordingly, to please them, Philadelphus sent Aris- 
tseus, a man whose wisdom had gained his friendship, 


and Andraeus, a captain of the guard, both of them Greek 
Jews, with costly gifts to Eleazer, the high priest of 
Jerusalem; and asked him to employ learned and fit men 
to make a Greek translation of the Bible for the library 
at Alexandria. Eleazer, so runs the tradition, named 
seventy elders to undertake the task, who held their first 
sitting on the business at the king's dinner-table; when 
Menedemus, the Socratic philosopher, the pupil of Plato, 
was also present, who had been sent to Philadelphus as 
ambassador from Euboea. The translators then divided 
the work among themselves; and when each had finished 
his task it was laid before a meeting of the seventy, and 
then published by authority. Thus was said to have been 
made the Greek translation of the Old Testament, which, 
from the number of the translators, we now call the Sep- 
tuagint; but a doubt is thrown upon the whole story 
by the fables which have been mingled with it to give 
authority to the translation. By this translation the Bible 
became known for the first time to the Greek philoso- 
phers. We do not indeed hear that they immediately 
read it or noticed it, we do not find it quoted till after 
the spread of Christianity; but it had a silent effect on 
their opinions, which we trace in the new school of Pla- 
tonists soon afterwards rising in Alexandria. 

When Aratus of Sicyon first laid a plot to free his 
country from its tyrant, who reigned by the help of the 
King of Macedonia, he sent to Philadelphus to beg for 
money. He naturally looked to the King of Egypt for 
help when entering upon a struggle against their common 
rival; but the king seems to have thought the plans of 


this young man too wild to be countenanced. Aratus, 
however, soon raised Sicyon to a level with the first states 
of Greece, and made himself leader of the Achaian league, 
under which band and name the Greeks were then strug- 
gling for freedom against Macedonia; and when, by his 
courage and success, he had shown himself worthy of the 
proud name which was afterwards given him, of the 
" Last of the Greeks," Philadelphus, like other patrons, 
gave him the help which he less needed. Aratus, as we 
have seen, bought his friendship with pictures, the gifts of 
all others the most welcome ; and, when he went to Egypt, 
Philadelphus gave him one hundred and fifty talents, 
or forty-five thousand dollars, and joined the Achaian 
league, on the agreement that in carrying on the war by 
sea and land they should obey the orders from Alex- 

The friendship of Philadelphus, indeed, was courted 
by all the neighbouring states; the little island of Delos 
set up its statue to him; and the cities of Greece vied 
with one another in doing him honour. The Athenians 
named one of the tribes of their city and also one of their 
public lecture-rooms by his name; and two hundred years 
afterwards, when Cicero and his friend Atticus were 
learning wisdom and eloquence from the lips of Antiochus 
in Athens, it was in the gymnasium of Ptolemy. 

Philadelphus, when young, had married Arsinoe, the 
daughter of Lysimachus of Thrace, by whom he had three 
children, Ptolemy, who succeeded him, Lysimachus, and 
Berenice; but, having found that his wife was intrigu- 
ing with Amyntas, and with his physician Chrysippus 



of Rhodes, he put these two to death and banished the 
Queen Arsinoe to Koptos in the Thebaid. 

He then took Arsinoe, his own sister, as the partner 
of his throne. She had married first the old Lysimachus, 
King of Thrace, and then Ceraunus, her half-brother, 
when he was King of Macedonia. As they were not chil- 
dren of the same mother, this second marriage was 
neither illegal nor improper in Macedonia; but her third 
marriage with Philadelphus could only be justified by the 
laws of Egypt, their adopted country. They were both 
past the middle age, and whether Philadelphus looked 
upon her as his wife or not, at any rate they had no chil- 
dren. Her own children by Lysimachus had been put to 
death by Ceraunus, and she readily adopted those of her 
brother with all the kindness of a mother. She was a 
woman of an enlarged mind; her husband and her step- 
children alike valued her; and Eratosthenes showed his 

opinion of her learning 
and strong sense by giv- 
ing the name of Arsinoe 
to one of his works, which 
perhaps a modern writer 
would have named Table- 
talk. This seeming mar- 
riage, however, between brother and sister did not escape 
blame with the Greeks of Alexandria. The poet Sotades, 
whose verses were as licentious as his life, wrote some 
coarse lines against the queen, for which he was forced 
to fly from Egypt, and, being overtaken at sea, he was 
wrapped up in lead and thrown overboard. 




In the Egyptian inscriptions Ptolemy and Arsinoe 
are always called the brother-gods ; on the coins they are 
called Adelphi, the brothers; and afterwards the king 
took the name of Philadelphus, or sister-loving, by which 
he is now usually known. In the first half of his reign 
Philadelphus dated his coins from the year that his 
father came to the throne; and it was not till the nine- 
teenth year of his reign, soon after the death of his 
mother, that he made an era of his own, and dated his 
coins by the year of his own reign. The wealth of the 
country is well shown by the great size of those most in 
use, which were, in gold the tetra-stater or piece of eight 
drachms, and in silver the tetra-drachma, or piece of four 

drachms, while Greece had 
hardly seen a piece of gold 
larger than the single stater. 
In Alexandrian accounts also 
the unit of money was the silver 
didrachm, and thus double that 
in use among the merchants of Greece. Among the coins 
is one with the heads of Soter and Philadelphus on the 
one side, and the head of Berenice, the wife of the one 
and mother of the other, on the other side. This we may 
suppose to have been struck during the first two years 
of his reign, in the lifetime of his father. Another bears 
on one side the heads of Ptolemy Soter and Berenice, 
with the title of " the gods," and on the other side the 
heads of Philadelphus and his wife Arsinoe, with the 
title of " the brothers." This was struck after the death 
of his parents. A third was struck by the king in 





honour of his queen and sister. On the one side is the 
head of the queen, and on the other is the name of " Arsi- 
noe, the brother-loving/ ' with the cornucopia, or horn of 
Amalthea, an emblem borrowed by the queens of Egypt 
from the goddess Amalthea, the wife of the Libyan 
Amon. This was struck after his second marriage. 

On the death of Arsinoe, Philadelphus built a tomb 
for her in Alexandria, called the Arsinoeum, and set up 
in it an obelisk eighty 
cubits high, which had 
been made by King Nee- 
tanebo, but had been left 
plain, without carving. 
Satyrus, the architect, 
had the charge of mov- 
ing it. He dug a canal to it as it lay upon the ground, 
and moved two heavily laden barges under it. The bur- 
dens were then taken out of the barges, and as they 
floated higher they raised the obelisk off the ground. 
He then found it a task as great or greater to set it up 
in its place; and this Greek engineer must surely have 
looked back with wonder on the labour and knowledge 
of mechanics which must have been used in setting up 
the obelisks, colossal statues, and pyramids, which he saw 
scattered over the county. This obelisk now ornaments 
the cathedral of the Popes on the Vatican hill at Rome. 

Satyrus wrote a treatise on precious stones, and he 
also carved on them with great skill; but his w r orks are 
known only in the following lines, which were written 
by Diodorus on his portrait of Arsinoe cut in crystal: 


E'en Zeuxis had been proud to trace 
The lines within this pebble seen ; 

Satyrus here hath carved the face 
Of fair Arsinoe', Egypt's queen ; 

But such her beauty, sweetness, grace, 
The copy falls far short, I ween. 

Two beautiful cameos cut on sardonyx are extant, one 
with the heads of Philadelphus and his first wife, Arsi- 
noe, and the other with the heads of the same king and 
his second wife, Arsinoe. It is not impossible that one 
or both of them may be the work of Satyrus. 

Philadelphus is also said to have listened to the 
whimsical proposal of Dinochares, the architect, to build 
a room of loadstone in Arsinoe 's tomb, so that an iron 
statue of the queen should hang in the air between the 
floor and the roof. But the death of the king and of 
the architect took place before this was tried. He set 
up there, however, her statue six feet high, carved out 
of a most remarkable block of topaz, which had been 
presented to his mother by Philemon, the prefect of 
the Troglodytic coast in the last reign. 

Philadelphus lived in peace with Ergamenes, King of 
Meroe or Upper Ethiopia, who, while seeking for a 
knowledge of philosophy and the arts of life from his 
Greek neighbours, seems also to have gained a love of 
despotism, and a dislike of that control with which the 
priests of Ethiopia and Egypt had always limited the 
power of their kings. The King of Meroe had hitherto 
reigned like Amenothes or Thutmosis of old, as the head 
of the priesthood, supported and controlled by the 


priestly aristocracy by which he was surrounded. But 
he longed for the absolute power of Philadelphus. Ac- 
cordingly he surrounded the golden temple with a chosen 
body of troops, and put the whole of the priests to death; 
and from that time he governed Ethiopia as an autocrat. 
But, with the loss of their liberties, the Ethiopians lost 
the wish to guard the throne ; by grasping at more power, 
their sovereign lost what he already possessed; and in 
the next reign their country was conquered by Egypt. 

The wars between Philadelphus and his great neigh- 
bour, Antiochus Theos, seem not to have been carried on 
very actively, though they did not wholly cease till Phil- 
adelphus offered as a bribe his daughter Berenice, with 
a large sum of money under the name of a dower. 
Antiochus was already married to Laodice, whom he 
loved dearly, and by whom he had two children, Seleucus 
and Antiochus; but political ambition had deadened the 
feelings of his heart, and he agreed to declare this first 
marriage void and his two sons illegitimate, and that his 
children, if any should be born to him by Berenice, should 
inherit the throne of Babylon and the East. Philadel- 
phus, with an equal want of feeling, and disregarding 
the consequences of such a marriage, led his daughter 
to Pelusium on her journey to her betrothed husband, 
and sent with her so large a sum of gold and silver that 
he was nicknamed the " dower-giver." 

The peace between the two countries lasted as long as 
Philadelphus lived, and was strengthened by kindnesses 
which each did to the other. Ptolemy, when in Syria, 
was much struck by the beauty of a statue of Diana, and 


begged it of Antiochus as an ornament for Alexandria. 
But as soon as the statue reached Egypt, Arsinoe fell 
dangerously ill, and she dreamed that the goddess came 
by night, and told her that the illness was sent to her 
for the wrong done to the statue by her husband; and 
accordingly it was sent back with many gifts to the 
temple from which it had been brought. 

While Berenice and her husband lived at Antioch, 
Philadelphus kindly sent there from time to time water 
from the sacred Nile for her use, as the Egyptians be- 
lieved that none other was so wholesome. Antiochus, 
when ill, sent to Alexandria for a physician; and Cleom- 
brotus of Cos accordingly went, by command of Ptolemy, 
to Syria. He was successful in curing the king, and on 
his return he received from Philadelphus a present of 
one hundred talents, or seventy-five thousand dollars, 
as a fee for his journey. 

Philadelphus was a weak frame of body, and had 
delicate health; and, though a lover of learning beyond 
other kings of his time, he also surpassed them in his 
unmeasured luxury and love of pleasure. He had many 
mistresses, Egyptian as well as Greek, and the names 
of some of them have been handed down to us. He often 
boasted that he had found out the way to live for ever; 
but, like other free-livers, he was sometimes, by the gout 
in his feet, made to acknowledge that he was only a man, 
and indeed to wish that he could change places with the 
beggar whom he saw from his palace windows, eating 
the garbage on the banks of the Nile with an appetite 
which he had long wanted. It was during illness that 


he found most time for reading, and his mind most open 
to the truths of philosophy; and he chiefly wooed the 
Muses when ill health left him at leisure from his other 
courtships. He had a fleet of eight hundred state barges 
with gilt prows and poops and scarlet awnings upon 
the decks, which were used in the royal processions and 
religious shows, and which usually lay in dock at Schedia, 
on the Canopic River, five and twenty miles from Alex- 
andria. He was no doubt in part withheld from war 
by this luxurious love of ease; but his reign taught the 
world the new lesson, that an ambitious monarch may 
gratify his wish for praise and gain the admiration of 
surrounding nations, as much by cultivating the blessed 
arts of peace as by plunging his people into the miseries 
of war. 

He reigned over Egypt, with the neighbouring parts 
of Arabia; also over Libya, Phoenicia, Coele-Syria, part of 
Ethiopia, Pamphylia, Cilicia, Lycia, Caria, Cyprus, and 
the isles of the Cyclades. The island of Rhodes and many 
of the cities of Greece were bound to him by the closest 
ties of friendship, for past help and for the hope of 
future. The wealthy cities of Tyre and Sidon did homage 
to him, as before to his father, by putting his crowned 
head upon their coins. The forces of Egypt reached the 
very large number of two hundred thousand foot and 
twenty thousand horse, two thousand chariots, four hun- 
dred Ethiopian elephants, fifteen hundred ships of war 
and one thousand transports. Of this large force, it is 
not likely that even one-fourth should have been Greeks; 
the rest must have been Egyptians and Syrians, with 


some Gauls. The body of chariots, though still forming 
part of the force furnished for military service by the 
Theban tenants of the crown, was of no use against 
modern science; and the other Egyptian troops, though 
now chiefly armed and disciplined like Greeks, were very 
much below the Macedonian phalanx in real strength. 
The galleys also, though no doubt under the guidance 
and skill of Greeks and Phoenicians, were in part manned 
by Egyptians, whose inland habits wholly unfitted them 
for the sea, and whose religious prejudices made them 
feel the conscription for the navy as a heavy grievance. 

These large forces were maintained by a yearly in- 
come equally large, of fourteen thousand eight hundred 
talents, or twelve million two hundred and fifty thou- 
sand dollars, beside the tax on grain, which was taken in 
kind, of a million and a half of artabas, or about five 
millions of bushels. To this we may add a mass of gold, 
silver, and other valuable stores in the treasury, which 
were boastfully reckoned at the unheard-of sum of seven 
hundred and forty thousand talents, or above five hun- 
dred million dollars. 

The trade down the Nile was larger than it had ever 
been before; the coasting trade on the Mediterranean was 
new; the people were rich and happy; justice was ad- 
ministered to the Egyptians according to their own laws, 
and to the Greeks of Alexandria according to the Mace- 
donian laws : the navy commanded the whole of the east- 
ern half of the Mediterranean; the schools and library 
had risen to a great height upon the wise plans of Ptol- 
emy Soter; in every point of view Alexandria was the 




chief city in the world. Athens had no poets or other 
writers during this century equal in merit to those who 
ennobled the museum. Philadelphus, by joining to the 
greatness and good government of his father the costly 
splendour and pomp of an eastern monarch, so drew the 
eyes of after ages upon his reign that his name passed 
into a proverb: if any work of art was remarkable for 
its good taste or costliness, it was called Philadelphian; 
even history and chronology were set at nought, and we 
sometimes find poets of a century later counted among 
the Pleiades of Alexandria in the reign of Philadelphus. 
It is true that many of these advantages were forced 
in the hotbed of royal patronage ; that the navy was built 
in the harbours of Phoenicia and Asia Minor; and that 
the men of letters who then drew upon themselves the 
eyes of the world were only Greek settlers, whose writ- 
ings could have done little to raise the character of the 
native Kopts. But the Ptolemies, in raising this build- 
ing of their own, were not at the same time crushing 
another. Their splendid monarchy had not been built 
on the ruins of freedom; and even if the Greek settlers 
in the Delta had formed themselves into a free state, we 
can hardly believe that the Egyptians would have been 
so well treated as they were by this military despotism. 
From the temples which were built or enlarged in Upper 
Egypt, and from the beauty of the hieroglyphical inscrip- 
tions, we find that even the native arts were more flour- 
ishing than they had ever been since the fall of the kings 
of Thebes; and we may almost look upon the Greek 
conquest as a blessing to Upper Egypt. 


Philadelphia, though weak in body, was well suited 
by his keen-sightedness and intelligence for the tasks 
which the state of affairs at that time demanded from an 
Egyptian king. He was a diplomat rather than a warrior, 
and that was exactly what Egypt needed. 

A curious anecdote about Ptolemy Philadelphus is 
related by Mebuhr. He had reached the zenith of his 
glory, when suddenly he was attacked by a species of 
insanity, consisting of an indescribable fear of death. 
Chemical artifices were practised in Egypt from the 
earliest times; and hence Ptolemy took every imagina- 
ble pains to find the elixir of life ; but it was all in vain, 
for his strength was rapidly decreasing. Once, like Louis 
XI., he was looking from a window of his palace upon 
the seacoast, and seriously meditated upon the subject 
of his longing; it must have been in winter-time, when 
the sand, exposed to the rays of the sun, becomes very 
warm. He saw some poor boys burying themselves in 
the warm sand and screaming with delight, and the aged 
king began bitterly to cry, seeing the ragged urchins 
enjoying their life without any apprehension of losing 
it; for he felt that with all his riches he could not pur- 
chase that happiness, and that his end was very near 
at hand. He died in the thirty-eighth year of his reign, 
and perhaps the sixty-first of his age. He left the king- 
dom as powerful and more wealthy than when it came 
to him from his father; and he had the happiness of hav- 
ing a son who would carry on, even for the third genera- 
tion, the wise plans of the first Ptolemy. 




The struggle for Syria — Decline of the dynasty — Advent of Roman control. 

pTOLEMY, the eldest son of Philadelphus, 
succeeded his father on the throne of 
Egypt, and after a short time was accorded 
the name of Euergetes. The new reign was 
clouded by dark occurrences, which again 
involved Egypt and Syria in war. It has 
been already related that when peace was 
concluded between Antiochus and Phila- 
delphus, the latter gave to the former 
his daughter Berenice in marriage, stip- 
ulating that the offspring of that union should succeed 



to the Syrian throne, though Antiochus had, by his 
wife Laodice, a son, already arrived at the age of man- 
hood. The repudiated queen murdered her husband, and 
placed Seleucus on the vacant throne; who, in order to 
remove all competition on the part of Berenice and her 
child, made no scruple to deprive them both of life. Euer- 
getes could not behold such proceedings unmoved. Ad- 
vancing into Syria at the head of a powerful army, he 
took possession of the greater part of the country, which 
seems not to have been defended, the majority of the 
cities opening their gates at his approach. The impor- 
tant town of Seleucia Pieria, the seaport of the capital, 
fell into his hands, in the neighbourhood of which he was 
still further gratified with the apprehension of the cruel 
Laodice, at whose instigation his sister and nephew lost 
their lives. The punishment of this unprincipled woman 
seems, however, to have completely satiated his resent- 
ment; for, instead of securing his conquests in Syria, 
and achieving the entire humiliation of Seleucus, he led 
his army on a plundering expedition into the remote prov- 
inces of Asia, whence, on the news of domestic troubles, 
he returned to the shores of Africa in triumph, laden with 
an immense booty, comprising among other objects all 
the statues of the Egyptian deities which had been car- 
ried off by Cambyses to Persia or Babylon. These he 
restored to their respective temples, an act by which he 
earned the greatest popularity among his native Egyp- 
tian subjects, who bestowed upon him, in consequence, 
the title of Euergetes (Benefactor), by which he is gen- 
erally known. He brought back also from this expedition 


a vast number of other works of art, for the museums 
were a passion with the Ptolemies. The Asiatics might, 
indeed, have got over these things, but he levied, in addi- 
tion, immense contributions from the Asiatics, and is said 
to have raised over forty thousand talents. On his march 
homeward, he laid his gifts upon the altar in the Temple 
of Jerusalem, and there returned thanks to Heaven for 
his victories. He had been taught to bow the knee to 
the crowds of Greek and Egyptian gods; and, as Pales- 
tine was part of his kingdom, it seemed quite natural 
to add the God of the Jews to the list. 

Of the insurrection in Egypt, which obliged him to 
return, we know no particulars, but Euergetes seems to 
have become convinced that Egypt was too small a basis 
for such an empire. " If he had wished to retain all his 
conquests," relates the chronicler, " he would have been 
obliged to make Antioch his residence, and this would 
weaken the ground of his strength. He, moreover, ap- 
pears to have been well aware that the conquests had been 
made too quickly." He accordingly divided them, retain- 
ing for himself Syria as far as Euphrates, and the coast 
districts of Asia Minor and Thrace, so that he had a com- 
plete maritime empire. The remaining territories he 
divided into two states: the country beyond the Eu- 
phrates was given, according to St. Jerome, to one Xan- 
tippus, who is otherwise unknown, and Western Asia was 
left to Antiochus Hierax. It would seem that after this 
he never visited those countries again. 

One of the notable incidents of the war against Syria 
was an offer of help to Egypt from the Romans. From 


the middle of the reign of Philadelphia till the fifth year 
of this reign, for twenty-two years, the Romans had been 
struggling with the Carthaginians for their very being, 
in the first Punic war, which they had just brought to a 
close, and on hearing of Ptolemy's war in Syria, they sent 
to Egypt with friendly offers of help. But their ambas- 
sadors did not reach Alexandria before peace was made, 
and they were sent home with many thanks. The event 
serves to show the trend of the aspirations of this now 
important nation, which was afterwards destined to en- 
gulf the kingdoms of Egypt and Syria alike. 

After Euergetes had, as he thought, established his 
authority in Asia, a party hostile to him came forward 
to oppose him. The Rhodians, with their wise policy, 
who had hitherto given no decided support to either em- 
pire, now stepped forward, setting to other maritime 
cities the example of joining that hostile party. The 
confederates formed a fleet, with the assistance of which, 
and supported by a general insurrection of the Asiatics, 
who were exasperated against the Egyptians on account 
of their rapacity, Seleucus Callinicus rallied again. He 
recovered the whole of upper Asia, and for a time he was 
united with his brother, Antiochus Hierax. The insur- 
rection in Egypt must have been of a very serious nature, 
and Ptolemy, being pressed on all sides, concluded a truce 
of ten years with Seleucus on basis of uti possidetis. 
Both parties seem to have retained the places which they 
possessed at the time, so that all the disadvantage was 
on the side of the Seleucidae, for the fortified town of 
Seleucia, for example, remained in the hands of the 




Egyptians, whereby the capital was placed in a danger- 
ous position. A part of Cilicia, the whole of Caria, the 
Ionian cities, the Thracian Chersonesus, and several 
Macedonian towns likewise continued to belong to Egypt. 
Soon after his re-appearance in Egypt, Euergetes was 
solicited by Cleomenes, the King of Sparta, to grant the 
assistance of his arms in the struggle which that repub- 
lic was then supporting with Antigonus, the ruler of 
Macedon, and with the members of the Achaian league. 
But the battle of Sellasia proved that the aid offered was 
inadequate. Cleomenes fled to the banks of the Nile, 
where he found his august ally reposing under the suc- 
cessful banners of a numerous army, which he had just 
led home from the savage mountains of Ethiopia, whither 
his love of romantic conquest had conducted them. He 
appears to have penetrated into the interior provinces 
of Abyssinia, and to have subdued the rude tribes which 
dwelt on the shores of the Red Sea, levying on the unfor- 
tunate natives the most oppressive contributions in cattle, 
gold, perfumes, and other articles belonging to that val- 
uable merchandise which the Ethiopians and Arabs had 
long carried on with their Egyptian neighbours. At 
Adule, the principal seaport of Abyssinia, he collected 
his victorious troops, and made them a speech on the 
wonderful exploits which they had achieved under his 
auspices, and on the numerous benefits which they had 
thereby secured to their native country. The throne on 
which he sat, composed of white marble and supported 
by a slab of porphyry, was consecrated to the god of war, 
whom he chose to claim for his father and patron, and 


that the descendants of the vanquished Ethiopians might 
not be ignorant of their obligations to Ptolemy Euergetes, 
King of Egypt, he gave orders that his name and prin- 
cipal triumphs should be inscribed on the votive chair. 
But not content with his real conquests, which reached 
from the Hellespont to the Euphrates, he added, like 
Ramses, that he had conquered Thrace, Persia, Media, 
and Bactria. He thus teaches us that monumental in- 
scriptions, though read with difficulty, do not always tell 
the truth. This was the most southerly spot to which 
the kings of Egypt ever sent an army. But they kept 
no hold on the country. Distance had placed it not only 
beyond their power, but almost beyond their knowledge; 
and two hundred years afterwards, when the geographer 
Strabo was making inquiries about that part of Arabia, 
as it was called, he was told of this monument as set up 
by the hero Sesostris, to whom it was usual to give the 
credit of so many wonderful works. These inscriptions, 
it is worthy of remark, are still preserved, and constitute 
the only historical account that has reached these times 
of the Ethiopian warfare of this Egyptian monarch. 
About seven hundred years after the reign of Euergetes, 
they were first published in the Topography of Cosmas 
Indicopleustes, a Grecian monk, by whom they were cop- 
ied on the spot. The traveller Bruce, moreover, informs 
us that the stone containing the name of Ptolemy Euer- 
getes serves as a footstool to the throne on which the 
kings of Abyssinia are crowned to this day. Amid the 
ruins of Ascum, also, the ancient capital of that country, 
various fragments of marble have been found bearing 



the name and title of the same Egyptian sovereign. This 
empty fame, however, is the only return that ever re- 
compensed the toils of Euergetes among the fierce bar- 
barians of the south. 

Euergetes, as part of his general policy of conciliating 
the Egyptians, enlarged the great temple at Thebes, 
which is now called the temple of Karnak, on the walls 
of which we see him handing an offering to his father 
and mother, the brother-gods. In one place he is in a 
Greek dress, which is not common on the Ptolemaic build- 
ings, as most of the Greek kings are carved upon the walls 
in the dress of the country. The 
early kings had often shown their 
piety to a temple by enlarging the 
sacred area and adding a new wall 
and gateway in front of the former; 
and this custom Euergetes followed 
at Karnak. As these grand stone 
sculptured gateways belonged to a 
wall of unbaked bricks which has 
long since crumbled to pieces, they 
now stand apart like so many triumphal arches. He also 
added to the temple at Hibe in the Gieat Oasis, and began 
a small temple at Esne, or Latopolis, where he is drawn 
upon the walls in the act of striking down the chiefs 
of the conquered nations, and is followed by a tame lion. 
He built a temple to Osiris at Canopus, on the mouth of 
the Nile; for, notwithstanding the large number of 
Greeks and strangers who had settled there, the ancient 
religion was not yet driven out of the Delta; and he 



dedicated it to the god in a Greek inscription on a plate 
of gold, in the names of himself and Berenice, whom he 
called his wife and sister. She is also called the king's 
sister in many of the hieroglyphical inscriptions, as are 
many of the other queens of the Ptolemies who were not 
so related to their husbands. This custom, though it 
took its rise in the Egyptian mythology, must have been 
strengthened by the marriages of Philadelphus and some 
of his successors with their sisters. In the hieroglyphical 
inscriptions he is usually called " beloved by Phtah," 
the god of Memphis, an addition to his name which was 
used by most of his successors. 

During this century the Greek artists in Egypt, as 
indeed elsewhere, adopted in their style an affectation 
of antiquity, which, unless seen through, would make us 
think their statues older than they really are. They 
sometimes set a stiff beard upon a face without expres- 
sion, or arranged the hair of the head in an old-fashioned 
manner, and, while making the drapery fly out in a 
direction opposed to that of the figure, gave to it formal 
zigzag lines, which could only be proper if it were hang- 
ing down in quiet. At other times, while they gave to 
the human figure all the truth to which their art had 
then reached, they yet gave to the drapery these stiff 
zigzag forms. No habit of mind would have been more 
improving to the Alexandrian character than a respect 
for antiquity; but this respect ought to be shown in a 
noble rivalry, in trying to surpass those who have gone 
before them, and not as in this manner by copying their 
faults. Hieroglyphics seem to have flourished in their 



more ancient style and forms under the generous pat- 
ronage of the Ptolemies. In the time of the Egyptian 
kings of Lower Egypt, we find new grammatical endings 
to the nouns, and more letters used to spell each word 
than under the kings of Thebes; but, on comparing the 
hieroglyphics of the Ptolemies with the others, we find 
that in these and some other points they are more like 
the older writings, under the kings of Thebes, than the 
newer, under the kings of Sais. 

But, while the Egyptians were flattered, and no doubt 
raised in moral worth, by their monarch's taking up the 
religious feelings of the country, and throwing aside 
some of the Greek habits of his father and grandfather, 
Euergetes was sowing the seeds of a greater change than 
he could himself have been aware of. It was by Greek 
arms and arts of war that Egypt then held its place 
among nations, and we shall see in the coming reigns 
that, while the court became more Asiatic and less Euro- 
pean, the army and government did not retain their 
former characteristics. 

Since Coele-Syria and Judaea were by the first Ptol- 
emy made a province of Egypt, the Jews had lived in 
unbroken tranquillity, and with very little loss of free- 
dom. The kings of Egypt had allowed them to govern 
themselves, to live under their own laws, and choose 
their own high priest; but they required of them the 
payment to Alexandria of a yearly tribute. Part of this 
was the sacred poll-tax of half a shekel, or about sixteen 
cents for every male above the age of twenty, which by 
the Mosaic law they had previously paid for the service 


of the Temple. This is called in the Gospels the Di- 
drachms; though the Alexandrian translators of the Bi- 
ble, altering the sum, either through mistake or on pur- 
pose, have made it in the Greek Pentateuch only half a 
didrachm, or about eight cents. This yearly tribute from 
the Temple the high priest of Jerusalem had been usually 
allowed to collect and farm; but in the latter end of this 
reign, the high priest Onias, a weak and covetous old 
man, refused to send to Alexandria the twenty talents, 
or fifteen thousand dollars, at which it was then valued. 
When Euergetes sent Athenion as ambassador to claim 
it, and even threatened to send a body of troops to fetch 
it, still the tribute was not paid; notwithstanding the 
fright of the Jews, the priest would not part with his 

On this, Joseph, the nephew of Onias, set out for 
Egypt, to try and turn away the king's anger. He went 
to Memphis, and met Euergetes riding in his chariot with 
the queen and Athenion, the ambassador. The king, 
when he knew him, begged him to get into the chariot 
and sit with him; and Joseph made himself so agreeable 
that he was lodged in the palace at Memphis, and dined 
every day at the royal table. While he was at Memphis, 
the revenues of the provinces for the coming year were 
put up to auction; and the farmers bid eight thousand 
talents, or six million dollars, for the taxes of Coele-Syria, 
Phoenicia, and Samaria. Joseph then bid double that 
sum, and, when he was asked what security he could give, 
he playfully said that he was sure that Euergetes and the 
queen would willingly become bound for his honesty; 


and the king was so much pleased with him that the office 
was at once given to him, and he held it for twenty-two 

Among the men of letters who at this time taught 
in the Alexandrian schools was Aristophanes, the gram- 
marian, who afterwards held the office of head of the 
museum. At one of the public sittings at which the king 
was to hear the poems and other writings of the pupils 
read, and, by the help of seven men of letters who sat 
with him as judges, was to give away honours and re- 
wards to the best authors, one of the chairs was empty, 
one of the judges happened not to be there. The king 
asked who should be called up to fill his place; and, after 
thinking over the matter, the six judges fixed upon Aris- 
tophanes, who had made himself known to them by being 
seen daily studying in the public library. When the 
reading was over, the king, the public, and the six other 
judges were agreed upon which was the best piece of 
writing; but Aristophanes was bold enough to think 
otherwise, and he was able, by means of his great read- 
ing, to find the book in the library from which the pupil 
had copied the greater part of his work. The king was 
much struck with this proof of his learning, and soon 
afterwards made him keeper of the library which he had 
already so well used. Aristophanes followed Zenodotus 
in his critical efforts to mend the text of Homer's poems. 
He also invented the several marks by which grammari- 
ans now distinguish the length and tone of a syllable 
and the breathing of a vowel, that is, the marks for long 
and short, and the accents and aspirate. The last two, 


after his time, were always placed over Greek words, and 
are still used in printed books. 

Eratosthenes of Cyrene, the inventor of astronomical 
geography, was at this time the head of the mathemat- 
ical school. He has the credit for being the first to cal- 
culate the circumference of the earth by means of his 
Theory of Shadows. As a poet he wrote a description 
of the constellations. He also wrote a history of Egypt, 
to correct the errors of Manetho. What most strikes us 
with wonder and regret is, that of these two writers, 
Manetho, an Egyptian priest who wrote in Greek, Era- 
tosthenes, a Greek who understood something of Egyp- 
tian, neither of them took the trouble to lay open to their 
readers the peculiarities of the hieroglyphics. Through 
all these reigns, the titles and praises of the Ptolemies 
were carved upon the temples in the sacred characters. 
These two histories were translated from the same in- 
scriptions. We even now read the names of the kings 
which they mention carved on the statues and temples; 
and yet the language of the hieroglyphics still remained 
unknown beyond the class of priests; such was the want 
of curiosity on the part of the Greek grammarians of 
Alexandria. Such, we may add, was their want of re- 
spect for the philosophy of the Egyptians; and we need 
no stronger proof that the philosophers of the museum 
had hitherto borrowed none of the doctrines of the 

Lycon of Troas was another settler in Alexandria. 
He followed Strato at the head of one of the schools in 
the museum. He was very successful in bringing up 



the young men, who needed, he used to say, modesty 
and the love of praise, as a horse needs bridle and spur. 
His eloquence was so pleasing that he was wittily called 
Glycon, or the sweet. Carneades of Cyrene at the same 
time held a high place among philosophers; but as he 
had removed to Athens, where he was at the head of a 
school, and was even sent to Rome as the ambassador 
of the Athenians, we must not claim the whole honour 
of him for the Ptolemies under whom he was born. It 
is therefore enough to say of him that, though a follower 
of Plato, he made such changes in the opinions of the 
Academy, by not wholly throwing off the evidence of 
the senses, that his school was called the New Academy. 

Apollonius, who was born at Alexandria, but is com- 
monly called Apollonius Rhodius because he passed 
many years of his life at Rhodes, had been, like Era- 
tosthenes, a hearer of Callimachus. His only work which 
we now know is his Argonautics, a poem on the voyage 
of Jason to Colchis in search of the golden fleece. It is 
a regular epic poem, in imitation of Homer; and, like 
other imitations, it wants the interest which hangs upon 
reality of manners and story in the Iliad. 

Callimachus showed his dislike of his young rival by 
hurling against him a reproachful poem, in which he 
speaks of him under the name of an Ibis. This is now 
lost, but it was copied by Ovid in his poem of the same 
name; and from the Roman we can gather something 
of the dark and learned style in which Callimachus threw 
out his biting reproaches. We do not know from what 
this quarrel arose, but it seems to have been the cause 


of Apollonius leaving Alexandria. He removed to 
Rhodes, where he taught in the schools during all the 
reign of Philopator, till he was recalled by Epiphanes, 
and made librarian of the museum in his old age, on 
the death of Eratosthenes. 

Lycophron, the tragic writer, lived about this time 
at Alexandria, and was one of the seven men of letters 
sometimes called the Alexandrian Pleiades, though writ- 
ers are not agreed upon the names which fill up the list. 
His tragedies are all lost, and the only work of his which 
we now have is the dark and muddy poem of Alcandra, 
or Cassandra, of which the lines most striking to the 
historian are those in which the prophetess foretells 
the coming greatness of Rome; that the children of 
iEneas will raise the crown upon their spears, and seize 
the sceptres of sea and land. Lycophron was the friend 
of Menedemus and Aratus; and it is not easy to believe 
that these lines were written before the overthrow of 
Hannibal in Italy, and of the Greek phalanx at Cyno- 
cephalae, or that one who was a man in the reign of Phil- 
adelphus should have foreseen the triumph of the Roman 
arms. These words must have been a later addition to 
the poem, to improve the prophecy. 

Conon, one of the greatest of the Alexandrian as- 
tronomers, has left no writings for us to judge of his 
merits, though they were thought highly of, and made 
great use of, by his successors. He worked both as an 
observer and an inquirer, mapping out the heavens by 
his observations, and collecting the accounts of the 
eclipses which had been before observed in Egypt. He 


was the friend of Archimedes of Syracuse, to whom he 
sent his problems, and from whom he received that great 
geometrician's writings in return. 

Apollonius of Perga came to Alexandria in this reign, 
to study mathematics under the pupils of Euclid. He 
is well known for his work on conic sections, and he may 
be called the founder of this study. The Greek mathe- 
maticians sought after knowledge for its own sake, and 
followed up those branches of their studies which led 
to no end that could in the narrow sense be called useful, 
with the same zeal that they did other branches out of 
which sprung the great practical truths of mechanics, 
astronomy, and geography. They found reward enough 
in the enlargement of their minds and in the beauty of 
the truth learnt. Alexandrian science gained in loftiness 
of tone what its poetry and philosophy wanted. Thus 
the properties of the ellipse, the hyperbola, and the par- 
abola, continued to be studied by after mathematicians; 
but no use was made of this knowledge till nearly two 
thousand years later, when Kepler crowned the labours 
of Apollonius with the great discovery that the paths 
of the planets round the sun were conic sections. The 
Egyptians, however, made great use of mathematical 
knowledge, particularly in the irrigation of their fields; 
and Archimedes of Syracuse, who came to Alexandria 
about this time to study under Conon, did the country 
a real service by his invention of the cochlea, or screw- 
pump. The more distant fields of the valley of the Nile, 
rising above the level of the inundation, have to be 
watered artificially by pumping out of the canals into 


ditches at a higher level. For this work Archimedes 
proposed a spiral tube, twisting round an axis, which 
was to be put in motion either by the hand or by the force 
of the stream out of which it was to pump ; and this was 
found so convenient that it soon became the machine 
most in use throughout Egypt for irrigation. 

But while we are dazzled by the brilliancy of these 
clusters of men of letters and science who graced the 
court of Alexandria, we must not shut our eyes to those 
faults which are always found in works called forth 
rather by the fostering warmth of royal pensions than 
by a love of knowledge in the people. The well-fed and 
well-paid philosophers of the museum were not likely 
to overtake the mighty men of Athens in its best days, 
who had studied and taught without any pension from 
the government, without taking any fee from their 
pupils; who were urged forward towards excellence by 
the love of knowledge and of honour; who had no other 
aim than that of being useful to their hearers, and looked 
for no reward beyond their Jove and esteem. 

In oratory Alexandria made no attempts whatever; 
it is a branch of literature not likely to flourish under 
a despotic monarchy. In Athens it fell with the loss of 
liberty, and Demetrius Phalereus was the last of the real 
Athenian orators. After his time the orations were 
declamations written carefully in the study, and coldly 
spoken in the school for the instruction of the pupils, 
and wholly wanting in fire and genius; and the Alexan- 
drian men of letters forbore to copy Greece in its lifeless 
harangues. For the same reasons the Alexandrians were 




not successful in history. A species of writing, which 
a despot requires to be false and flattering, is little likely 
to flourish; and hence the only historians of the museum 
were chronologists, antiquaries, and writers of travels. 
The coins of Euergetes bear the name of " Ptolemy 
the king," round the head on the one side, with no title 
by which they can be known from the other kings of the 
same name. But his portrait is known from his Phoeni- 
cian coins. In the same 
way the coins of his 
queen have only the 
name of " Berenice the 
queen," but they are 
known from those of the 
later queens by the 
beauty of the workmanship, which soon fell far below 
that of the first Ptolemies. 

Euergetes had married his cousin Berenice, who like 
the other queens of Egypt is sometimes called Cleopatra; 
by her he left two sons, Ptolemy and Magas, to the eldest 
of whom he left his kingdom, after a reign of twenty-five 
years of unclouded prosperity. Egypt was during this 
reign at the very height of its power and wealth. It had 
seen three kings, who, though not equally great men, 
not equally fit to found a monarchy or to raise the liter- 
ature of a people, were equally successful in the parts 
which they had undertaken. Euergetes left to his son 
a kingdom perhaps as large as the world had ever seen 
under one sceptre; and though many of his boasted vic- 
tories were like letters written in the sand, of which the 



traces were soon lost, yet he was by far the greatest, 
and possibly the wisest, monarch of his day. 

We may be sure that in these prosperous reigns life 
and property were safe, and justice was administered 
fairly by judges who were independent of the crown; 
as even centuries afterwards we find that it was part of 
a judge's oath on taking office, that, if he were ordered 
by the king to do what was wrong, he would not obey 
him. But here the bright pages in the history of the 
Ptolemies end. Though trade and agriculture still en- 
riched the country, though arts and letters did not quit 
Alexandria, we have from this time forward to mark the 

growth only of vice and 
luxury, and to measure 
the wisdom of Ptolemy 
Soter by the length of 
time that his laws and 
institutions were able 


to bear up against the 
misrule and folly of his descendants. 

Ptolemy, the eldest son of Euergetes, inherited the 
crown of his forefathers, but none of the great qualities 
by which they had won and guarded it. He was then 
about thirty-four years old. His first act was to call to- 
gether his council, and to ask their advice about putting 
to death his mother Berenice and his brother Magas. 
Their crime was the being too much liked by the army; 
and the council was called upon to say whether it would 
be safe to have them killed. Cleomenes, the banished 
King of Sparta, who was one of the council, alone raised 


his voice against their murder, and wisely said that the 
throne would be still safer if there were more brothers 
to stand between the king and the daring hopes of a 
traitor. The minister Sosibius, on the other hand, said 
that the mercenaries could not be trusted while Magas 
was alive; but Cleomenes remarked to him, that more 
than three thousand of them were Peloponnesians, and 
that they would follow him sooner than they would 
follow Magas. 

Berenice and Magas were, however, put to death, but 
the speech of Cleomenes was not forgotten. If his popu- 
larity with the mercenaries could secure their allegiance, 
he could, when he chose, make them rebel; from that 
time he was treated rather as a prisoner than as a friend, 
and by his well-meaning but incautious observation he 
lost all chance of being helped to regain his kingdom. 

Nothing is known of the death of Euergetes, the late 
king, and there is no proof that it was by unfair means. 
But when his son began a cruel and wicked reign by put- 
ting to death his mother and brother, and by taking the 
name of Philopator, or father-loving, the world seems 
to have thought that he was the murderer of his father, 
and had taken this name to throw a cloak over the deed. 

By this murder of his brother, and by the minority 
both of Antiochus, King of Syria, and of Philip, King of 
Macedonia, Philopator found himself safe from enemies 
either at home or abroad, and he gave himself up to a life 
of thoughtlessness and pleasure. The army and fleet 
were left to go to ruin, and the foreign provinces, which 
had hitherto been looked upon as the bulwarks of Egypt, 


were only half -guarded; but the throne rested on the 
virtues of his forefathers, and it was not till his death 
that it was found to have been undermined by his own 
follies and vice. 

Egypt had been governed by kings of more than 
usual wisdom for above one hundred years, and was at 
the very height of its power when Philopator came to 
the throne. He found himself master of Ethiopia, Cy- 
rene, Phoenicia, Coele-Syria, part of Upper Syria, Cyprus, 
Rhodes, the cities along the coast of Asia Minor from 
Pamphilia to Lysimachia, and the cities of iEnos and 
Maronea in Thrace. The unwilling obedience of distant 
provinces usually costs more than it is worth; but many 
of these possessions across the Mediterranean had put 
themselves willingly into the power of his predecessors 
for the sake of their protection, and they cost little more 
than a message to warn off invaders. Egypt was the 
greatest naval power in the world, having the command 
of the sea and the whole of the coast at the eastern end 
of the Mediterranean. r 

On the death of Euergetes, the happiness of the peo- 
ple came to an end. The first trouble arose from the 
loose and vicious habits of the new king, and was an 
attempt made upon his life by Cleomenes, who found 
the palace in Alexandria had now become a prison. The 
Spartan took advantage of the king's being at Canopus 
to escape from his guards, and to raise a riot in Alex- 
andria; but not being able to gain the citadel, and see- 
ing that disgrace and death must follow upon his failure, 
he stabbed himself with his own dagger. 


The kingdom of Syria, after being humbled by Ptol- 
emy Euergetes, had risen lately under the able rule of 
Antiochus, son of Seleucus Callinicus. He was a man 
possessed of abilities of a high order. His energy and 
courage soon recovered from Egypt the provinces that 
Syria had before lost, and afterwards gained for him the 
name of Antiochus the Great. He made himself master 
of the city of Damascus by a stratagem. Soon after this, 
Seleucia, the capital, which had been taken by Euergetes, 
was retaken by Antiochus, or rather given up to him by 
treachery. Theodotus also, the Alexandrian governor of 
Coele-Syria, delivered up to him that province ; and Anti- 
ochus marched southward, and had taken Tyre and Ptol- 
ema'is before the Egyptian army could be brought into 
the field. There he gained forty ships of war, of which 
twenty were decked vessels with four banks of oars, and 
the others smaller. He then marched towards Egypt, 
and on his way learned that Ptolemy was at Memphis. 
On his arrival at Pelusium he found that the place was 
strongly guarded, and that the garrison had opened the 
flood-gates from the neighbouring lake, and thereby 
spoiled the fresh water of all the neighbourhood; he 
therefore did not lay siege to that city, but seized many 
of the open towns on the east side of the Nile. 

On this, Philopator roused himself from his idleness, 
and got together his forces against the coming danger. 
His troops consisted of Greeks, Egyptians, and mer- 
cenaries to the total of seventy-three thousand men and 
seventy-three elephants, or one elephant to every thou- 
sand men, which was the number usually allowed to the 


armies about this time. But before this army reached 
Pelusium, Antiochus had led back his forces to winter in 
Seleucia. The next spring Antiochus again marched 
towards Egypt with an army of seventy-two thousand 
foot, six thousand horse, and one hundred and two ele- 
phants. Philopator led his whole forces to the frontier 
to oppose his march, and met the Syrian army near the 
village of Raphia, the border town between Egypt and 
Palestine. Arsinoe, his queen and sister, rode with him 
on horseback through the ranks, and called upon the 
soldiers to fight for their wives and children. At first 
the Egyptians seemed in danger of being beaten. As the 
armies approached one another, the Ethiopian elephants 
trembled at the very smell of the Indian elephants, and 
shrunk from engaging with beasts so much larger than 
themselves. On the charge, the left wing of each army 
was routed, as was often the case among the Greeks, 
when, from too great a trust in the shield, every soldier 
kept moving to the right, and thus left the left wing 
uncovered. But before tl^e end of the day the invading 
army was defeated; and, though some of the Egyptian 
officers treacherously left their posts, and carried their 
troops over to Antiochus, yet the Syrian army was 
wholly routed, and Arsinoe enjoyed the knowledge and 
the praise of having been the chief cause of her husband's 
success. The king in gratitude sacrificed to the gods 
the unusual offering of four elephants. 

By this victory Philopator regained Coele-Syria, and 
there he spent three months ; he then made a hasty, and, 
if we judge his reasons rightly, we must add, a disgrace- 


ful treaty with the enemy, that he might the sooner get 
back to his life of ease. Before going home he passed 
through Jerusalem, where he gave thanks and sacrificed 
to the Hebrew god in the temple of the Jews; and, being 
struck with the beauty of the building, asked to be shown 
into the inner room, in which were kept the ark of the 
covenant, Aaron's rod that budded, and the golden pot 
of manna, with the tables of the covenant. The priests 
told him of their law, by which every stranger, every 
Jew, and every priest but the high priest, was forbidden 
to pass beyond the second veil; but Philopator roughly 
answered that he was not bound by the Jewish laws, 
and ordered them to lead him into the holy of holies. 

The city was thrown into alarm by this unheard-of 
wickedness; the streets were filled with men and women 
in despair; the air was rent with shrieks and cries, and 
the priests prayed to Javeh to guard his own temple 
from the stain. The king's mind, however, was not to 
be changed; the refusal of the priests only strengthened 
his wish, and all struggle was useless while the court of 
the temple was filled with Greek soldiers. But, says the 
Jewish historian, the prayer of the priests was heard; 
the king fell to the ground in a fit, like a reed broken 
by the wind, and was carried out speechless by his friends 
and generals. 

On his return to Egypt, he showed his hatred of the 
nation by his treatment of the Jews in Alexandria. He 
made a law that they should lose the rank of Macedoni- 
ans, and be enrolled among the class of Egyptians. He 
ordered them to have their bodies marked with pricks, 


in the form of an ivy leaf, in honour of Bacchus; and 
those who refused to have this done were outlawed, or 
forbidden to enter the courts of justice. The king him- 
self had an ivy leaf marked with pricks upon his fore- 
head, from which he received the nickname of Gallus. 
This custom of marking the body had been forbidden 
in the Levitical law : it was not known among the Kopts, 
but must always have been in use among the Lower 
Egyptians. It was used by the Arab prisoners of Ram- 
ses, and is still practiced among the Egyptian Arabs 
of the present day. 

He also ordered the Jews to sacrifice on the pagan 
altars, and many of them were sent up to Alexandria 
to be punished for rebelling against his decree. Their 
resolution, however, or, as their historian asserts, a mira- 
cle from heaven changed the king's mind. They ex- 
pected to be trampled to death in the hippodrome by 
furious elephants; but after some delay they were re- 
leased unhurt. The history of their escape, however, is 
more melancholy than the history of their danger. No 
sooner did the persecution cease than they turned with 
Pharisaical cruelty against their weaker brethren who 
had yielded to the storm; and they put to death three 
hundred of their countrymen, who in the hour of danger 
had yielded to the threats of punishment, and complied 
with the ceremonies required of them. 

The Egyptians, who, when the Persians were con- 
quered by Alexander, could neither help nor hinder the 
Greek army, and who, when they formed part of the 
troops under the first Ptolemy, were uncounted and un- 


valued, had by this time been armed and disciplined like 
Greeks; and in the battle of Raphia the Egyptian pha- 
lanx had shown itself not an unworthy rival of the Mace- 
donians. By this success in war, and by their hatred of 
their vicious and cruel king, the Egyptians were now 
for the first time encouraged to take arms against the 
Greek government. The Egyptian phalanx murmured 
against their Greek officers, and claimed their right to 
be under an Egyptian general. But history has told us 
nothing more of the rebellion than that it was success- 
fully put down. The Greeks were still the better soldiers. 
The ships built by Philopator were more remarkable 
for their unwieldy size, their luxurious and costly furni- 
ture, than for their fitness for war. One was four hun- 
dred and twenty feet long and fifty-seven feet wide, with 
forty banks of oars. The longest oars were fifty-seven 
feet long, and weighted with lead at the handles that 
they might be the more easily moved. This huge ship 
was to be rowed by four thousand rowers, its sails were 
to be shifted by four hundred sailors, and three thousand 
soldiers were to stand in ranks upon deck. There were 
seven beaks in front, by which it was to strike and sink 
the ships of the enemy. The royal barge, in which the 
king and court moved on the quiet waters of the Nile, 
was nearly as large as this ship of war. It was three 
hundred and thirty feet long, and forty-five feet wide; 
it was fitted up with staterooms and private rooms, and 
was nearly sixty feet high to the top of the royal awning. 
A third ship, which even surpassed these in its fittings 
and ornaments, was given to Philopator by Hiero, King 


of Syracuse. It was built under the care of Archimedes, 
and its timbers would have made sixty triremes. Beside 
baths, and rooms for pleasures of all kinds, it had a li- 
brary, and astronomical instruments, not only for navi- 
gation, as in modern ships, but for study, as in an observ- 
atory. It was a ship of war, and had eight towers, from 
each of which stones were to be thrown at the enemy 
by six men. Its machines, like modern cannons, could 
throw stones of three hundred pounds weight, and ar- 
rows of eighteen feet in length. It had four anchors of 
wood, and eight of iron. It was called the ship of Syra- 
cuse, but after it had been given to Philopator it was 
known by the name of the ship of Alexandria. 

In the second year of Philopator 's reign the Romans 
began that long and doubtful war with Hannibal, called 
the second Punic war, and in the twelfth year of this 
reign they sent ambassadors to renew their treaty of 
peace with Egypt. They sent as their gifts robes of 
purple for Philopator and Arsinoe, and for Philopator 
a chair of ivory and gold, which was the usual gift of the 
republic to friendly kings. The Alexandrians kept upon 
good terms both with the Romans and the Carthaginians 
during the whole of the Punic wars. 

When the city of Rhodes, which had long been joined 
in close friendship with Egypt, was shaken by an earth- 
quake, that threw down the colossal statue of Apollo, 
together with a large part of the city walls and docks, 
Philopator was not behind the other friendly kings and 
states in his gifts and help. He sent to his brave allies 
a large sum of money, with grain, timber, and hemp. 


On the birth of his son and heir, in B. C. 209, ambas- 
sadors crowded to Alexandria with gifts and messages 
of joy. But they were all thrown into the shade by 
Hyrcanus, the son of Joseph, who was sent from Jeru- 
salem by his father, and who brought to the king one 
hundred boys and one hundred girls, each carrying a 
talent of silver. 

Philopator, soon after the birth of this his only child, 
employed Philammon, at the bidding of his mistress, to 
put to death his queen and sister Arsinoe, or Eurydice, 
as she is sometimes called. He had already forgotten 
his rank, and his name ennobled by the virtues of three 
generations, and had given up his days and nights to 
vice and riot. He kept in his pay several fools, or laugh- 
ing-stocks as they were then called, who were the chosen 
companions of his meals; and he was the first who 
brought eunuchs into the court of Alexandria. His mis- 
tress Agathoclea, her brother Agathocles, and their 
mother (Enanthe, held him bound by those chains which 
clever, worthless, and selfish favourites throw around 
the mind of a weak and debauched king. Agathocles, 
who never left his side, was his adviser in matters of 
business or pleasure, and governed alike the army, the 
courts of justice, and the women. Thus was spent a 
reign of seventeen years, during which the king had 
never but once, when he met Antiochus in battle, roused 
himself from his life of sloth. 

The misconduct and vices of Agathocles raised such 
an outcry against him, that Philopator, without giving 
up the pleasure of his favourite's company, was forced 


to take away from him the charge of receiving the taxes. 
That high post was then given to Tlepolemus, a young 
man, whose strength of body and warlike courage had 
made him the darling of the soldiers. Another charge 
given to Tlepolemus was that of watching over the 
supply and price of corn in Alexandria. The wisest 
statesmen of old thought it part of a king's duty to take 
care that the people were fed, and seem never to have 
found out that it would be better done if the people were 
left to take care of themselves. They thought it more- 
over a piece of wise policy, or at any rate of clever king- 
craft, to keep down the price of food in the capital at 
the cost of the rest of the kingdom, and even sometimes 
to give a monthly fixed measure of corn to each citizen. 
By such means as these the crowd of poor and restless 
citizens, who swell the mob of every capital, was larger 
in Alexandria than it otherwise would have been; and 
the danger of riot, which it was meant to lessen, was 
every year increased. 

Sosibius had made himself more hated than Agatho- 
cles; he had been the king's ready tool in all his mur- 
ders. He had been stained, or at least reproached, with 
the murder of Lysimachus, the son of Philadelphus; 
then of Magas, the son of Euergetes, and Berenice, the 
widow of Euergetes; of Cleomenes, the Spartan; and 
lastly, of Arsinoe, the wife of Philopator. For these 
crimes Sosibius was forced by the soldiers to give up 
to Tlepolemus the king's ring, or what in modern lan- 
guage would be called the great seal of the kingdom, 
the badge of office by which Egypt was governed; but 



the world soon saw that a body of luxurious mercenaries 
were as little able to choose a wise statesman as the king 
had been. 

With all his vices, Philopator had yet inherited the 
love of letters which has thrown so bright a light around 
the whole of the family; and to his other luxuries he 
sometimes added that of the society of the learned men 


of the museum. "When one 
of the professorships was 
empty he wrote to Athens, 
and invited to Alexandria, 
Sphserus, who had been the 
pupil of Zeno. One day when Sphaerus was dining with 
the king, he said that a wise man should never guess, 
but only say what he knows. Philopator, wishing to 
tease him, ordered some waxen pomegranates to be 




handed to him, and when Sphserus bit one of them he 
laughed at him for guessing that it was real fruit. But 
the stoic answered that there are many cases in which 
our actions must be guided by what seems probable. 
None of the works of Sphaerus have come down to us. 
Eratosthenes, of whom we have before spoken, was 
librarian of the museum during this reign; and Ptolemy, 
the son of Agesarchus, then wrote his history of Alex- 
andria, a work now lost. The want of moral feeling in 

Alexandria was poorly 
supplied by the respect 
for talent. Philopator 
built there a shrine or 
temple to Homer, in 
which he placed a sitting 
figure of the poet, and round it seven worshippers, meant 
for the seven cities which claimed the honour of giving 
him birth. Had Homer himself worshipped in such 
temples, and had his thoughts been raised by no more 
lofty views, he would not have left us an Iliad or an 
Odyssey. In Upper Egypt there was no such want of 
religious earnestness; there the priests placed the name 
of Philopator upon a small temple near Medinet-Habu, 
dedicated to Amon-Ra and the goddess Hathor; his 
name is also seen upon the temple at Karnak, and on 
the additions to the sculptures on the temple of Thot 
at Pselcis in Ethiopia. 

Some of this king's coins bear the name of " Ptolemy 
Philopator," while those of the queen have her name, 
" Arsinoe Philopator," around the head. They are of 



a good style of art. He was also sometimes named Eu- 
pator; and it was under that name that the people of 
Paphos set up a monument to him in the temple of 

The first three Ptolemies had been loved by their 
subjects and feared by their enemies; but Philopator, 
though his power was still acknowledged abroad, had 
by his vices and cruelty made himself hated at home, 
and had undermined the foundations of the government. 
He began his reign like an Eastern despot; instead of 
looking to his brother as a friend for help and strength, 
he distrusted him as a rival, and had him put to death. 
He employed the ministers of his vicious pleasures in 
the high offices of government; and instead of philoso- 
phers and men of learning, he brought eunuchs into the 
palace as the companions of his son. In B. c. 204 he 
died, worn out with disease, in the seventeenth year of 
his reign and about the fifty-first of his age; and very 
few lamented his decease. 

On the death of Philopator his son was only five 
years old. The minister Agathocles, who had ruled over 
the country with unbounded power, endeavoured, by 
the help of his sister Agathoclea and the other mistresses 
of the late king, to keep 
his death secret; so that 
while the women seized 
the money and jewels of 
the palace, he might 
have time to take such 
steps as would secure his own power over the kingdom. 



But the secret could not be long kept, and Agathocles 
called together the citizens of Alexandria to tell them 
of the death of Philopator, and to show them their young 

He went to the meeting, followed by his sister 
Agathoclea and the young Ptolemy, afterwards called 
Epiphanes. He began his speech, " Ye men of Mace- 
donia," as this mixed body of Greeks and Jews was 
always called. He wiped his eyes in well-feigned grief, 
and showed them the new king, who had been trusted, 
he said, by his father, to the motherly care of Agatho- 
clea and to their loyalty. He then accused Tlepolemus 
of aiming at the throne, and brought forward a creature 
of his own to prove the truth of the charge. But his 
voice was soon drowned in the loud murmurs of the 
citizens; they had smarted too long under his tyranny, 
and were too well acquainted with his falsehoods, to 
listen to anything that he could say against his rival. 
Besides, Tlepolemus had the charge of supplying Alex- 
andria with corn, a duty which was more likely to gain 
friends than the pandering to the vices of their hated 
tyrant. Agathocles soon saw that his life was in danger, 
and he left the meeting and returned to the palace, in 
doubt whether he should seek for safety in flight, or 
boldly seize the power which he was craftily aiming at, 
and rid himself of his enemies by their murder. 

While he was wasting these precious minutes in 
doubt, the streets were filled with groups of men, and 
of boys, who always formed a part of the mobs of Alex- 
andria. They sullenly but loudly gave vent to their 


hatred of the minister; and if they had but found a 
leader they would have been in rebellion. In a little 
while the crowd moved off to the tents of the Mace- 
donians, to learn their feelings on the matter, and then 
to the quarters of the mercenaries, both of which were 
close to the palace, and the mixed mob of armed and 
unarmed men soon told the fatal news, that the soldiers 
were as angry as the citizens. But they were still with- 
out a leader; they sent messengers to Tlepolemus, who 
was not in Alexandria, and he promised that he would 
soon be there; but perhaps he no more knew what to 
do than his guilty rival. 

Agathocles, in his doubt, did nothing; he sat down 
to supper with his friends, perhaps hoping that the storm 
might blow over of itself, perhaps trusting to chance and 
to the strong walls of the palace. His mother, (Enanthe, 
ran to the temple of Ceres and Proserpine, and sat down 
before the altar in tears, believing that the sanctuary 
of the temple would be her best safeguard; as if the 
laws of heaven, which had never bound her, would bind 
her enemies. It was a festal day, and the women in the 
temple, who knew nothing of the storm which had risen 
in the forum within these few hours, came forward to 
comfort her; but she answered them with curses; she 
knew that she was hated and would soon be despised, 
and she added the savage prayer, that they might have 
to eat their own children. The riot did not lessen at 
sunset. Men, women, and boys were moving through 
the streets all night with torches. The crowds were 
greatest in the stadium and in the theatre of Bacchus, 


but most noisy in front of the palace. Agathocles was 
awakened by the noise, and in his fright ran to the bed- 
room of the young Ptolemy; and, distrusting the palace 
walls, hid himself, with his own family, the king, and 
two or three guards, in the underground passage which 
led from the palace to the theatre. 

The night, however, passed off without any violence; 
but at daybreak the murmurs became louder, and the 
thousands in the palace yard called for the young king. 
By that time the Greek soldiers joined the mob, and then 
the guards within were no longer to be feared. The gates 
were soon burst open, and the palace searched. The 
mob rushed through the halls and lobbies, and, learning 
where the king had fled, hastened to the underground 
passage. It was guarded by three doors of iron grating; 
but, when the first was beaten in, Aristomenes was sent 
out to offer terms of surrender. Agathocles was willing 
to give up the young king, his misused power, his ill- 
gotten wealth and estates ; he asked only for his life. But 
this was sternly refused, and a shout was raised to kill 
the messenger; and Aristomenes, the best of the minis- 
ters, whose only fault was the being a friend of Agatho- 
cles, and the having named his little daughter Agatho- 
clea, would certainly have been killed upon the spot if 
somebody had not reminded them that they wanted to 
send back an answer. 

Agathocles, seeing that he could hold out no longer, 
then gave up the little king, who was set upon a horse, 
and led away to the stadium amid the shouts of the 
crowd. There thev seated him on the throne, and, while 


he was crying at being surrounded by strange faces, the 
mob loudly called for revenge on the guilty ministers. 
Sosibius, the somatophylax, the son of the former gen- 
eral of that name, seeing no other way of stopping the 
fury of the mob and the child's sobs, asked him if the 
enemies of his mother and of his throne should be given 
up to the people. The child of course answered " yes," 
without understanding what was meant; and on that 
they let Sosibius take him to his own house to be out 
of the uproar. Agathocles was soon led out bound, and 
was stabbed by those who two days before would have 
felt honoured by a look from him. Agathoclea and her 
sister were then brought out, and lastly CEnanthe, their 
mother was dragged away from the altar of Ceres and 
Proserpine. Some bit them, some struck them with 
sticks, some tore their eyes out; her body was torn to 
pieces, and her limbs scattered among the crowd; to such 
lengths of madness and angry cruelty was the Alexan- 
drian mob sometimes driven. 

In the meanwhile some of the women called to mind 
that Philammon, who had been employed in the murder 
of Arsinoe, had within those three days come to Alex- 
andria, and they made a rush at his house. The doors 
quickly gave way before their blows, and he was killed 
upon the spot by clubs and stones; his little son was 
strangled by these raging mothers, and his wife dragged 
naked into the street, and there torn to pieces. Thus died 
Agathocles and all his family; and the care of the young 
king then fell to Sosibius, and to Aristomenes, who had 
already gained a high character for wisdom and firmness. 


While Egypt was thus without a government, Philip 
of Macedonia and Antiochus of Syria agreed to divide 
the foreign provinces between them; and Antiochus 
marched against Ccele-Syria and Phoenicia. The guard- 
ians of the young Ptolemy sent against him an army 
under Scopas, the iEtolian, who was at first successful, 
but was afterwards beaten by Antiochus at Paneas in 
the valley of the Jordan, three and twenty miles above 
the Lake of Tiberias, and driven back into Egypt. In 
these battles the Jews, who had not forgotten the ill 
treatment that they had received from Philopator, joined 
Antiochus, after having been under the government of 
Egypt for exactly one hundred years; and in return 
Antiochus released Jerusalem from all taxes for three 
years, and afterwards from one-third of the taxes. He 
also sent a large sum of money for the service of the 
temple, and released the elders, priests, scribes, and 
singing men from all taxes for the future. 

The Alexandrian statesmen had latterly shown them- 
selves in their foreign policy very unworthy pupils of 
Ptolemy Soter and Philadelphus, who had both ably 
trimmed the balance of power between the several suc- 
cessors of Alexander. But even had they been wiser, 
they could hardly, before the end of the second Punic 
war, have foreseen that the Romans would soon be their 
most dangerous enemies. The overthrow of Hannibal, 
however, might perhaps have opened their eyes; but it 
was then too late; Egypt was too weak to form an alli- 
ance with Macedonia or Syria against the Romans. 
About this time, also, the Romans sent to Alexandria, 


to inform the king that they had conquered Hanni- 
bal, and brought to a close the second Punic war, and 
to thank him for the friendship of the Egyptians during 
that long and doubtful struggle of eighteen years, when 
so many of their nearer neighbours had joined the enemy. 
They begged that if the senate felt called upon to under- 
take a war against Philip, who, though no friend to the 
Egyptians, had not yet taken arms against them, it might 
cause no breach in the friendship between the King of 
Egypt and the Romans. In answer to this embassy, the 
Alexandrians, rushing to their own destruction, sent to 
Rome a message, which was meant to place the kingdom 
wholly in the hands of the senate. It was to beg them 
to undertake the guardianship of the young Ptolemy, and 
the defence of the kingdom against Philip and Antiochus 
during his childhood. 

The Romans, in return, gave the wished-for answer; 
they sent ambassadors to Antiochus and Philip, to order 
them to make no attack upon Egypt, on pain of falling 
under the displeasure of the senate; and they sent 
Marcus Lepidus to Alexandria, to accept the offered 
prize, and to govern the foreign affairs of the kingdom, 
under the modest name of tutor to the young king. This 
high honour was afterwards mentioned by Lepidus, with 
pride, upon the coins struck when he was consul, in the 
eighteenth year of this reign. They have the city of 
Alexandria on the one side, and on the other the title of 
" Tutor to the king/' with the figure of the Roman in 
his toga, putting the diadem on the head of the young 


The haughty orders of the senate at first had very 
little weight with the two kings. Antiochus conquered 
Phoenicia and Coele-Syria; and he was then met by a 
second message from the senate, who no longer spoke in 
the name of their ward, the young King of Egypt, but 
ordered him to give up to the Roman people the states 
which he had seized, and which belonged, they said, to 
the Romans by the right of war. On this, Antiochus 
made peace with Egypt by a treaty, in which he betrothed 
his daughter Cleopatra to the young Ptolemy, and added 
the disputed provinces of Phoenicia and Coele-Syria as a 

dower, which were to be given 
up to Egypt when the king was 
old enough to be married. 

Philip marched against Ath- 
EOMAN coin, issued UNDER ens and the other states of Greece 


which had heretofore held them- 
selves independent and in alliance with Egypt; and, 
when the Athenian embassy came to Alexandria to beg 
for the usual help, Ptolemy's ministers felt themselves 
so much in the power of the senate that they sent to 
Rome to ask whether they should help their old friends, 
the Athenians, against Philip, the common enemy, or 
whether they should leave it to the Romans to help them. 
And these haughty republicans, who wished all their 
allies to forget the use of arms, who valued their friends 
not for their strength but for their obedience, sent them 
word that the senate did not wish them to help the Athe- 
nians, and that the Roman people would take care of 
their own allies. The Alexandrians looked upon the 


proud but unlettered Romans only as friends, as allies, 
who asked for no pay, who took no reward, who fought 
only for ambition and for the glory of their country. 

Soon after this, the battle of Cynocephalse in Thes- 
saly was fought between Philip and the Romans, in 
which the Romans lost only seven hundred men, while 
as many as eight thousand Macedonians were left dead 
upon the field. This battle, though only between Rome 
and Macedonia, must not be passed unnoticed in the 
history of Egypt, where the troops were armed and dis- 
ciplined like Macedonians; as it was the first time that 
the world had seen the Macedonian phalanx routed and 
in flight before any troops not so armed. 

The phalanx was a body of spearsmen, in such close 
array that each man filled a space of only one square 
yard. The spear was seven yards long, and, when held 
in both hands, its point was five yards in front of the 
soldier's breast. There were sixteen ranks of these men, 
and, when the first five ranks lowered their spears, the 
point of the fifth spear was one yard in front of the fore- 
most rank. The Romans, on the other hand, fought in 
open ranks, with one yard between each, or each man 
filled a space of four square yards, and in a charge would 
have to meet ten Macedonian spears. But then the 
Roman soldiers went into battle with much higher feel- 
ings than those of the Greeks. In Rome, arms were 
trusted only to the citizens, to those who had a country 
to love, a home to guard, and who had some share in 
making the laws which they were called upon to obey. 
But the Greek armies of Macedonia, Egypt, and Syria 


were made up either of natives who bowed their necks 
in slavery, or of mercenaries who made war their trade 
and rioted in its lawlessness; both of whom felt that 
they had little to gain from victory, and nothing to lose 
by a change of masters. Moreover, the warlike skill of 
the Romans was far greater than any that had yet been 
brought against the Greeks. It had lately been improved 
in their wars with Hannibal, the great master of that 
science. They saw that the phalanx could use its whole 
strength only on a plain; that a wood, a bog, a hill, or 
a river were difficulties which this close body of men 
could not always overcome. A charge or a retreat 
equally lessened its force; the phalanx was meant to 
stand the charge of others. The Romans, therefore, chose 
their own time and their own ground; they loosened 
their ranks and widened their front, avoided the charge, 
and attacked the Greeks at the side and in the rear; and 
the fatal discovery was at last made that the Macedonian 
phalanx was not unconquerable, and that closed ranks 
were only strong against barbarians. This news must 
have been heard by every statesman of Egypt and the 
East with alarm; the Romans were now their equals, 
and were soon to be their masters. 

But to return to Egypt. It was, as we have seen, a 
country governed by men of a foreign race. Neither 
the poor who tilled the land, nor the rich who owned 
the estates, had any share in the government. They had 
no public duty except to pay taxes to their Greek mas- 
ters, who walked among them as superior beings, marked 
out for fitness to rule by greater skill in the arts both 


of war and peace. The Greeks by their arms, or rather 
by their military discipline, had enforced obedience for 
one hundred and fifty years; and as they had at the same 
time checked lawless violence, made life and property 
safe, and left industry to enjoy a large share of its own 
earnings, this obedience had been for the most part 
granted to them willingly. They had even trusted the 
Egyptians with arms. But none are able to* command 
unless they are at the same time able to obey. The Alex- 
andrians were now almost in rebellion against their 
young king and his ministers; and the Greek govern- 
ment no longer gave the usual advantages in return for 
the obedience which it tyrannically enforced. Confusion 
increased each year during the childhood of the fifth 
Ptolemy, to whom Alexandrian flattery gave the title 
of Epiphanes, or The Illustrious. The Egyptian phalanx 
had in the last reign shown signs of disobedience, and 
at length it broke out in open rebellion. The discon- 
tented party strengthened themselves in the Busirite 
nome, in the middle of the Delta, and fortified the city 
of Lycopolis against the government ; and a large supply 
of arms and warlike stores which they there got together 
proved the length of time that they had been preparing 
for resistance. The royal troops laid siege to the city 
in due form; they surrounded it with mounds and 
ditches; they dammed up the bed of the river on each 
side of it, and, being helped by a rise in the Nile, which 
was that year greater than usual, they forced the rebels 
to surrender, on the king's promise that they should 
be spared. But Ptolemy was not bound by promises; 


he was as false and cruel as he was weak; the rebels 
were punished; and many of the troubles in his reign 
arose from his discontented subjects not being able to 
rely upon his word. 

The rich island of Cyprus also, which had been left 
by Philopator under the command of Poly crates, showed 
some signs of wishing to throw off the Egyptian yoke. 
But Poly crates was true to his trust; and, though the 
king's ministers were almost too weak either to help 
the faithful or punish the treacherous, he not only saved 
the island for the minor, but, when he gave up his gov- 
ernment to Ptolemy of Megalopolis, he brought to the 
royal treasury at Alexandria a large sum from the rev- 
enues of his province. By this faithful conduct he gained 
great weight in the Alexandrian councils, till, corrupted 
by the poisonous habits of the place, he gave way to 
luxury and vice. 

About the same time Scopas, who had lately led back 
to Alexandria his iEtolian mercenaries, so far showed 
signs of discontent and disobedience that the minister, 
Aristomenes, began to suspect him of planning resistance 
to the government. Scopas was greedy of money; noth- 
ing would satisfy his avarice. The other Greek generals 
of his rank received while in the Egyptian service a 
mina, or ten dollars a day, under the name of mess- 
money, beyond the usual military pay; and Scopas 
claimed and received for his services the large sum of 
ten minae, or one hundred and twenty-five dollars, a day 
for mess-money. But even this did not content him. 
Aristomenes observed that he was collecting his friends 




for some secret purpose, and in frequent consultation 
with them. He therefore summoned him to the king's 
presence, and, being prepared for his refusal, he sent 
a large force to fetch him. Fearing that the mercenaries 
might support their general, Aristomenes had even or- 
dered out the elephants and prepared for battle. But, 
as the blow came upon Scopas unexpectedly, no resist- 
ance was made, and he was brought prisoner to the 
palace. Aristomenes, however, did not immediately ven- 
ture to punish him, but wisely summoned the iEtolian 
ambassadors and the chiefs of the mercenaries to his 
trial, and, as they made no objection, he then had him 
poisoned in prison. 

No sooner was this rebellion crushed than the council 
took into consideration the propriety of declaring the 
king's minority at an end, as the best means of re-estab- 
lishing the royal authority; and they thereupon deter- 
mined shortly to celebrate his Anacleteria, or the grand 
ceremony of exhibiting him to the people as their mon- 
arch, though he wanted some years of the legal age; and 
accordingly, in the ninth year of his reign, the young 
king was crowned with great pomp at Memphis, the 
ancient capital of the kingdom. 

On this occasion he came to Memphis by barge, in 
grand state, where he was met by the priests of Upper 
and Lower Egypt, and crowned in the temple of Phtah 
with the double crown, called Pschent, the crown of the 
two provinces. After the ceremony, the priests made 
the Decree in honour of the king, which is carved on the 
stone known by the name of the Rosetta Stone, in the 


British Museum. Ptolemy is there styled King of Upper 
and Lower Egypt, son of the gods Philopatores, ap- 
proved by Phtah, to whom Ra has given victory, a living 
image of Amon, son of Ra, Ptolemy immortal, beloved 
by Phtah, god Epiphanes most gracious. In the date 
of the decree we are told the names of the priests of 
Alexander, of the gods Soteres, of the gods Adelphi, of 
the gods Euergetae, of the gods Philopatores, of the god 
Epiphanes himself, of Berenice Euergetis, of Arsinoe 
Philadelphus, and of Arsinoe Philopator. The preamble 
mentions with gratitude the services of the king, or 
rather of his wise minister, Aristomenes; and the en- 
actment orders that the statue of the king shall be 
worshipped in every temple of Egypt, and be carried out 
in the processions with those of the gods of the country; 
and lastly, that the decree is to be carved at the foot of 
every statue of the king, in sacred, in common, and in 
Greek writing. It is to this stone, with its three kinds 
of letters, and to the skill and industry of Dr. Thomas 
Young, and of the French scholar, Champollion, that we 
now owe our knowledge of hieroglyphics. The Greeks of 
Alexandria, and after them the Romans, who might have 
learned how to read this kind of writing if they had 
wished, seem never to have taken the trouble: it fell 
into disuse on the rise of Christianity in Egypt; and 
it was left for an Englishman to unravel the hidden 
meaning after it had been forgotten for nearly thirteen 

The preamble of this decree tells us also that during 
the minority of the king the taxes were lessened; the 


crown debtors were forgiven; those who were found in 
prison charged with crimes against the state were re- 
leased; the allowance from government for upholding 
the splendour of the temples was continued, as was the 
rent from land belonging to the priests; the first-fruits, 
or rather the coronation money, a tax paid by the priests 
to the king on the year of his coming to the throne, which 
was by custom allowed to be less than what the law 
ordered, was not increased; the priests were relieved 
from the heavy burden of making a yearly voyage to do 
homage at Alexandria; there was a stop put to the im- 
pressing men for the navy, which had been felt as a great 
cruelty by an inland people, whose habits and religion 
alike made them hate the sea, and this was a boon which 
was the more easily granted, as the navy of Alexandria, 
which was built in foreign dockyards and steered by 
foreign pilots, had very much fallen off in the reign of 
Philopator. The duties on linen cloth, which was the 
chief manufacture of the kingdom, and, after grain, the 
chief article exported, were lessened; the priests, who 
manufactured linen for the king's own use, probably 
for the clothing of the army, and the sails for the navy, 
were not called upon for so large a part of what they 
made as before; and the royalties on the other linen 
manufactories and the duties on the samples or patterns, 
both of which seem to have been unpaid for the whole of 
the eight years of the minority, were wisely forgiven. 
All the temples of Egypt, and that of Apis at Mem- 
phis in particular, were enriched by his gifts; in which 
pious actions, in grateful remembrance of their former 


benefactor, and with a marked slight to Philopator, they 
said that he was following the wishes of his grand- 
father, the god Euergetes. From this decree we gain 
some little insight into the means by which the taxes 
were raised under the Ptolemies; and we also learn that 
they were so new and foreign that they had no Egyptian 
word by which they could speak of them, and therefore 
borrowed the Greek word syntaxes. 

History gives us many examples of kings who, like 
Epiphanes, gained great praise for the mildness and 
weakness of the government during their minorities. 
Aristomenes, the minister, who had governed Egypt for 
Epiphanes, fully deserved that trust. While the young- 
king looked up to him as a father, the country was well 
governed, and his orders obeyed; but, as he grew older, 
his good feelings were weakened by the pleasures which 
usually beset youth and royalty. The companions of his 
vices gained that power over his mind which Aristom- 
enes lost, and it was not long before this wise tutor 
and counsellor was got rid of. The king, weary perhaps 
with last night's debauchery, had one day fallen asleep 
when he should have been listening to the speech of a 
foreign ambassador. Aristomenes gently shook him and 
awoke him. His flatterers, when alone with him, urged 
him to take this as an affront. If, said they, it was right 
to blame the king for falling asleep when worn out with 
business and the cares of state, it should have been done 
in private, and not in the face of the whole court. So 
Aristomenes was put to death by being ordered to drink 
poison. Epiphanes then lost that love of his people 



which the wisdom of the minister had gained for him; 
and he governed the kingdom with the cruelty of a tyrant, 
rather than with the legal power of a king. Even Aris- 
tonicus, his favourite eunuch, who was of the same age 
as himself, and had been brought up as his playfellow, 
passed him in the manly virtues of his age, and earned 


the praise of the country for setting him a good example, 
and checking him in his career of vice. 

In the thirteenth year of his reign (B.C. 192), when 
the young king reached the age of eighteen, Antiochus 
the Great sent his daughter Cleopatra into Egypt, 
and the marriage, which had been agreed upon six years 
before, was then carried into effect; and the provinces of 
Coele-Syria, Phoenicia, and Judaea, which had been prom- 
ised as a dower, were, in form at least, handed over to 


the generals of Epiphanes. Cleopatra was a woman of 
strong mind and enlarged understanding; and Antiochus 
hoped that, by means of the power which she would have 
over the weaker mind of Epiphanes, he should gain more 
than he lost by giving up Coele-Syria and Phoenicia. But 
she acted the part of a wife and a queen, and, instead of 
betraying her husband into the hands of her father, she 
was throughout the reign his wisest and best counsellor. 

Antiochus seems never to have given up his hold 
upon the provinces which had been promised as the 
dower; and the peace between the two countries, which 
had been kept during the six years after Cleopatra had 
been betrothed, was broken as soon as she was married. 
The war was still going on between Antiochus and the 
Romans; and Epiphanes soon sent to Rome a thousand 
pounds weight of gold and twenty thousand pounds of 
silver, to help the republic against their common enemy. 
But the Romans neither hired mercenaries nor fought 
as such, the thirst for gold had not yet become the strong- 
est feeling in the senate, and they sent back the money 
to Alexandria with many thanks. 

In the twentieth year of his reign Epiphanes was 
troubled by a second serious rebellion of the Egyptians. 
Polycrates marched against them at the head of the 
Greek troops; and, as he brought with him a superior 
force, and the king's promise of a free pardon to all who 
should return to their obedience, the rebels yielded to 
necessity and laid down their arms. The leaders of the 
rebellion, Athinis, Pausiras, Chesuphus, and Irobashtus, 
whose Koptic names prove that this was a struggle on 


the part of the Egyptians to throw off the Greek yoke, 
were brought before the king at Sais. Epiphanes, in 
whose youthful heart were joined the cruelty and cow- 
ardice of a tyrant, who had not even shown himself to 
the army during the danger, was now eager to act the 
conqueror; and in spite of the promises of safety on 
which these brave Kopts had laid down their arms, he 
had them tied to his chariot wheels, and copying the vices 
of men whose virtues he could not even understand, like 
Achilles and Alexander, he dragged them living round 
the city walls, and then ordered them to be put to death. 
He then led the army to Naucratis, which was the port 
of Sai's, and there he embarked on the Nile for Alexan- 
dria, and taking with him a further body of mercenaries, 
which Aristonicus had just brought from Greece, he en- 
tered the city in triumph. 

Ptolemy of Megalopolis, the new governor of Cyprus, 
copied his predecessor, Polycrates, in his wise and care- 
ful management. His chief aim was to keep the province 
quiet, and his next to collect the taxes. He was at first 
distrusted by the Alexandrian council for the large sum 
of money which he had got together and kept within his 
own power; but when he sent it all home to the empty 
treasury, they were as much pleased as they were sur- 

Apollonius, whom we have spoken of in the reign of 
Euergetes, and who had been teaching at Rhodes during 
the reign of Philopator, was recalled to Alexandria in 
the beginning of this reign, and made librarian of the 
museum on the death of Eratosthenes. But he did not 



long enjoy that honour. He was already old, and shortly 
afterwards died at the age of ninety. 

The coins of this king are known by the glory or rays 
of sun which surround his head, and which agrees with 
his name, Bpiphanes, illustrious, or as it is written in 
the hieroglyphics, " light bearing." On the other side 
is the cornucopia between two stars, with the name of 


" King Ptolemy." No temples, and few additions to 
temples, seem to have been built in Upper Egypt during 
this reign, which began and ended in rebellion. We find, 
however, a Greek inscription at Philae, of " King Ptol- 
emy and Queen Cleopatra, gods Epiphanes, and Ptolemy 
their son, to Asclepius," a god whom the Egyptians 
called Imothph the son of Pthah. 

Cyprus and Cyrene were nearly all that were left 
to Egypt of its foreign provinces. The cities of Greece y 


which had of their own wish put themselves under Egypt 
for help against their nearer neighbours, now looked to 
Rome for that help; part of Asia Minor was under Seleu- 
cus, the son of Antiochus the Great; Coele-Syria and 
Phoenicia, which had been given up to Epiphanes, had 
been again soon lost; and the Jews, who in all former 
wars had sided with the Kings of Egypt, as being not 
only the stronger but the milder rulers, now joined 
Seleucus. The ease with which the wide-spreading prov- 
inces of this once mighty empire fell off from their alle- 
giance, showed how the whole had been upheld by the 
warlike skill of its kings, rather than by a deep-rooted 
hold in the habits of the people. Instead of wondering 
that the handful of Greeks in Alexandria, on whom the 
power rested, lost those wide provinces, we should rather 
wonder that they were ever able to hold them. 

After the death of Antiochus the Great, Ptolemy 
again proposed to enforce his rights over Coele-Syria, 
which he had given up only in the weakness of his minor- 
ity; and he is said to have been asked by one of his 
generals, how he should be able to pay for the large forces 
which he* was getting together for that purpose; and he 
playfully answered, that his treasure was in the number 
of his friends. But his joke was taken in earnest; they 
were afraid of new taxes and fresh levies on their es- 
tates; and means were easily taken to poison him. He 
died in the twenty-ninth year of his age, after a reign of 
twenty-four years; leaving the navy unmanned, the 
army in disobedience, the treasury empty, and the whole 
framework of government out of order. 



Just before his death he had sent to the Aehaians 
to offer to send ten galleys to join their fleet; and Poly- 
bius, the historian, to whom we owe so much of our 
knowledge of these reigns, although he had not yet 
reached the age called for by the Greek law, was sent 
by the Aehaians as one of the ambassadors, with his 
father, to return thanks; but before they had quitted 
their own country they were stopped by the news of 
the death of Epiphanes. 

Those who took away the life of the king seem to 
have had no thoughts of mending the form of govern- 
ment, nor any plan by which they might lessen the power 
of his successor. It was only one of those outbreaks of 
private vengeance which have often happened in un- 
mixed monarchies, where men are taught that the only 
way to check the king's tyranny is by his murder; and 
the little notice that was taken of it by the people proves 
their want of public virtue as well as of political wisdom. 





The Syrian Invasion 

The Jews and the Bible: 
Literature of the Age. 

Relations with Rome : 


A T the beginning of the last 
reign the Alexandrians 
had sadly felt the want of 
a natural guardian to the 
young king, and they were 
now glad to copy the customs 
of the conquered Egyptians. 
Epiphanes had left behind him two sons, each named 
Ptolemy, and a daughter named Cleopatra; and the 
elder son, though still a child, mounted the throne under 
the able guardianship of his mother, Cleopatra, and took 
the very suitable name of Philometor, or mother-loving. 
The mother governed the kingdom for seven years as 
regent during the minority of her son. When Philo- 
metor reached his fourteenth year, the age at which his 
minority ceased, his coronation was celebrated with great 
pomp. Ambassadors from several foreign states were 



sent to Egypt to wish the king joy, to do honour to the 
day, and to renew the treaties of peace with him: Caius 
Valerius and four others were sent from Rome; Apollo- 
nius, the son of Mnestheus, was sent from Judaea; and 
w T e may regret with Polybius that he himself was not 
able to form part of the embassy then sent from the 
Achaians, that he might have seen the costly and curious 
ceremony, and given us an account of it. 

"While Cleopatra lived, she had been able to keep 
her son at peace with her brother, Antiochus Epiphanes, 
but upon her death, Leneus and the eunuch Eulaius, 
who then had the care of the young king, sought to re- 
conquer Coele-Syria; and they embroiled the country 
in a war, at a time when weakness and decay might have 
been seen in every part of the army and navy, and when 
there was the greatest need of peace. Coele-Syria and 
Phoenicia had been given to Ptolemy Epiphanes as his 
wife's dower; but, when Philometor seemed too weak 
to grasp them, Antiochus denied that his father had 
ever made such a treaty, and got ready to march against 
Egypt, as the easiest way to guard Coele-Syria. 

By this time the statesmen of Egypt ought to have 
learned the mistake in their foreign policy. By widen- 
ing their frontier they always weakened it. They should 
have fortified the passes between the Red Sea and the 
Mediterranean, not cities in Asia. When Antiochus 
entered Egypt he was met at Pelusium by the army of 
Philometor, which he at once routed in a pitched battle. 
The whole of Egypt was then in his power; he marched 
upon Memphis with a small force, and seized it without 


having to strike a blow, helped perhaps by the plea that 
he was acting on behalf of his nephew, Ptolemy Philo- 
metor, who then fell into his hands. 

On this, the younger Ptolemy, the brother of Philo- 
metor, who was with his sister Cleopatra in Alexandria, 
and was about fifteen years old, declared himself king, 
and sent ambassadors to Rome to ask for help against 
Antiochus; and taking the name of the most popular 
of his forefathers, he called himself Euergetes. He is, 
however, better known in history as Ptolemy Physcon, 
or Moated, a nickname which was afterwards given to 
him when he had grown fat and unwieldy from the dis- 
eases of luxury. 

Comanus and Cineas were the chief advisers of the 
young Euergetes; and in their alarm they proposed to 
send the foreign ambassadors to meet the invader on 
his march from Memphis, and to plead for peace. This 
task the ambassadors kindly undertook. There were 
then in Alexandria two embassies from the Achaians, 
one to renew the treaty of peace, and one to settle the 
terms of the coming wrestling match. There were there 
three embassies from Athens, one with gifts from the 
city, one about the Panathenaic games, and one about 
the celebration of the mysteries. There was also an 
embassy from Miletus, and one from Clazomense. On 
the day of their arrival at Memphis, Antiochus feasted 
these numerous ambassadors in grand state, and on the 
next day gave them an audience. But their arguments 
for peace carried no weight with him; and he denied that 
his father, Antiochus the Great, had ever given Coele- 


Syria as a dower with his daughter Cleopatra to Epi- 
phanes. To gain time he promised the ambassadors that 
he would give them an answer as soon as his own am- 
bassadors returned from Alexandria; and in the mean- 
while he carried his army down the Nile to Naucratis, 
and thence marched to the capital to begin the siege. 

Antiochus, however, was defeated in his first assault 
upon Alexandria, and finding that he should not soon 
be able to bring the siege to an end, he sent off an em- 
bassy to Rome with a hundred and fifty talents of gold, 
fifty as a present to the senate, and the rest to be divided 
among the states of Greece, whose help he might need. 
At the same time, also, an embassy from the Rhodians 
arrived in the port of Alexandria, to attempt to restore 
peace to the country of their old allies. Antiochus re- 
ceived the Rhodian ambassadors in his tent, but would 
not listen to the long speech with which they threatened 
him, and shortly told them that he came as the friend 
of his elder nephew, the young Philometor, and if the 
Alexandrians wished for peace they should open the 
gates to their rightful king. Antiochus was, however, 
defeated in all his assaults on the city, and he at last 
withdrew his army and returned to Syria. He left 
Euergetes, King of the Greeks, at Alexandria, and Philo- 
metor at Memphis, King of the rest of Egypt. But he 
kept Pelusium, where he placed a strong garrison that 
he might be able easily to re-enter Egypt whenever he 

Ptolemy Macron, the Alexandrian governor of Cy- 
prus, added to the troubles of the country by giving 


up his island to Antiochus. But he met with the usual 
fate of traitors, he was badly rewarded; and when he 
complained of his treatment, he was called a traitor by 
the very men who had gained by his treachery, and he 
poisoned himself in the bitterness of his grief. An- 
tiochus, like most invaders, carried off whatever treas- 
ure fell into his hands. Egypt was a sponge which had 
not lately been squeezed, and his court and even his own 
dinner-table then shone with a blaze of silver and gold 
unknown in Syria before this inroad into Egypt. 

By these acts, and by the garrison left in Pelusium, 
the eyes of Philometor were opened, and he saw that his 
uncle had not entered Egypt for his sake, but to make 
it a province of Syria, after it had been weakened by 
civil war. He therefore wisely forgave his rebellious 
brother and sister in Alexandria, and sent offers of peace 
to them; and it was agreed that the two Ptolemies should 
reign together, and turn their forces against the common 
enemy. It was most likely at this time, and as a part 
of this treaty, that Philometor married his sister Cleo- 
patra. It was mainly by her advice and persuasion that 
the quarrel between the two brothers was for the time 
healed. On this treaty between the brothers the year 
was called the twelfth of Ptolemy Philometor and the 
first of Ptolemy Euergetes, and the public deeds of the 
kingdom were so dated. 

The next year Antiochus Epiphanes again entered 
Egypt? claiming the island of Cyprus and the country 
round Pelusium as the price of his forbearance; and, on 
his marching forward, Memphis a second time opened its 


gates to him without a battle. He came down by slow 
marches towards Alexandria, and crossed the canal at 
Leucine, four miles from the city. There he was met 
by the Roman ambassadors, who ordered him to quit the 
country. On his hesitating, Popilius, who was one of 
them, drew a circle round him on the sand with his stick, 
and told him that, if he crossed that line without prom- 
ising to leave Egypt at once, it should be taken as a 
declaration of war against Rome. On this threat Anti- 
ochus again quitted Egypt, and the brothers sent ambas- 
sadors to Rome to thank the senate for their help, and 
to acknowledge that they owed more to the Roman peo- 
ple than they did to the gods or to their forefathers. 

The treaty made on this occasion between Philometor 
and Antiochus was written by Heraclides Lembus, the 
son of Serapion, a native of Oxyrynchus, who wrote on 
the succession of the philosophers in the several Greek 
schools, and other works on philosophy, but whose chief 
work was a history named the Lembeutic History. 

Pour years afterwards, in B. C. 164, Antiochus Epi- 
phanes died; and the Jews of Judaea, who had been for 
some time struggling for liberty, then gained a short rest 
for their unhappy country. Judas Maccabaeus had raised 
his countrymen in rebellion against the foreigners; he 
had defeated the Syrian forces in several battles; and 
was at last able to purify the temple and re-establish 
the service there as of old. He therefore sent to the 
Jews of Egypt to ask them to join their Hebrew brethren 
in celebrating the feast of tabernacles on that great 



The unhappy quarrels between the Egyptian kings 
soon broke out again; and, as the party of Euergetes 
was the stronger, Philometor was driven from his king- 
dom, and he fled to Rome for safety and for help. He 
entered the city privately, and took up his lodgings in 
the house of one of his own subjects, a painter of Alex- 


andria. His pride led him to refuse the offers of better 
entertainment which were made to him by Demetrius, 
the nephew of Antiochus, who, like himself, was hoping 
to regain his kingdom by the help of the Romans. The 
Kings of Egypt and Syria, the two greatest kingdoms in 
the world, were at the same time asking to be heard at 
the bar of the Roman senate, and were claiming the 


thrones of their fathers at the hands of men who could 
make and unmake kings at their pleasure. 

As soon as the senate heard that Philometor was in 
Rome, they lodged him at the cost of the state in a man- 
ner becoming his high rank, and soon sent him back to 
Egypt, with orders that Euergetes should reign in Cy- 
rene, and that the rest of the kingdom should belong to 
Philometor. This happened in the seventeenth year of 
Philometor and the sixth of Euergetes, which was the 
last year that was named after the two kings. Cassius 
Longinus, who was next year consul at Rome, was most 
likely among the ambassadors who replaced Philometor 
on the throne ; for he put the Ptolemaic eagle and thun- 
derbolt on his coins, as though to claim the sovereignty 
of Egypt for the senate. 

To these orders Euergetes was forced to yield; but 
the next year he went himself to Rome to complain 
to the senate that they had made a very unfair division of 
the kingdom, and to beg that they would add the island 
of Cyprus to his share. After hearing the ambassadors 
from Philometor, who were sent to plead on the other 
side, the senate granted the prayer of Euergetes, and sent 
ambassadors to Cyprus, with orders to hand that island 
over to Euergetes, and to make use of the fleets and 
armies of the republic if these orders were disobeyed. 

Euergetes, during his stay in Rome, if we may believe 
Plutarch, made an offer of marriage to Cornelia, the 
mother of the Gracchi; but this offer of a throne could 
not make the high-minded matron quit her children and 
her country. He left Italy with the Roman ambassadors, 


and, in passing through Greece, he raised a large body 
of mercenaries to help him to wrest Cyprus from his 
brother, as it would seem that the governor, faithful to 
his charge, would not listen to the commands of Rome. 
But the ambassadors had been told to conquer Cyprus, 
if necessary, with the arms of the republic only, and they 
therefore made Euergetes disband his levies. They 
sailed for Alexandria to enforce their orders upon Phil- 
ometor, and sent Euergetes home to Cyrene. Philo- 
metor received the Roman ambassadors with all due 
honours; he sometimes gave them fair promises, and 
sometimes put them off till another day; and tried to 
spin out the time without saying either yes or no to the 
message from the senate. Euergetes sent to Alexandria 
to ask if they had gained their point; but though they 
threatened to return to Rome if they were not at once 
obeyed, Philometor, by his kind treatment and still 
kinder words, kept them more than forty days longer 
at Alexandria. 

At last the Roman ambassadors left Egypt, and on 
their way home they went to Cyrene, to let Euergetes 
know that his brother had disobeyed the orders of the 
senate, and would not give up Cyprus; and Euergetes 
then sent two ambassadors to Rome to beg them to re- 
venge their affronted dignity and to enforce their orders 
by arms. The senate of course declared the peace with 
Egypt at an end, and ordered the ambassadors from 
Philometor to quit Rome within five days, and sent their 
own ambassadors to Cyrene to tell Euergetes of their 


But while this was going on, the state of Cyrene had 
risen in arms against Euergetes; his vices and cruelty 
had made him hated, they had gained for him the nick- 
names of Kakergetes, or mischief-maker, and Physcon, 
or bloated; and while wishing to gain Cyprus he was 
in danger of losing his own kingdom. When he marched 
against the rebels, he was beaten and wounded, either in 
the battle or by an attack upon his life afterwards, and 
his success was for some time doubtful. When he had at 
last put down this rising, he sailed for Rome, to urge 
his complaints against Philometor, upon whom he laid 
the blame of the late rebellion, and to ask for help. The 
senate, after hearing both sides, sent a small fleet with 
Euergetes, not large enough to put him on the throne 
of Cyprus, but gave him, what they had before refused, 
leave to levy an army of his own, and to enlist their 
allies in Greece and Asia as mercenaries under his 

The Roman troops seem not to have helped Euer- 
getes ; but he landed in Cyprus with his own mercenaries, 
and was there met by Philometor, who had brought over 
the Egyptian army in person. Euergetes, however, was 
beaten in several battles, he was soon forced to shut 
himself up in the city of Lapitho, and at last to lay down 
his arms before his elder brother. 

If Philometor had upon this put his brother to death, 
the deed would have seemed almost blameless after the 
family murders already related in this history. But, with 
a goodness of heart, he a second time forgave his brother 
all that had passed, replaced him on the throne of Cyrene, 



and promised to give him his daughter in marriage. We 
are not told whether the firmness and forgiving mildness 
of Philometor had turned the Koman senate in his fa- 


vour, but their troops seemed wanted in other quarters; 
at any rate they left off trying to enforce their decree; 
Philometor kept Cyprus, and sent Euergetes a yearly 
gift of grain from Alexandria. 


During the wars in Syria between Philometor and 
Antiochus Epiphanes, at the beginning of this reign, 
the Jews were divided into two parties, one favouring 
the Egyptians and one the Syrians. At last the Syrian 
party drove their enemies out of Jerusalem; and Onias, 
the high priest, with a large body of Jews, fled to Egypt. 
There they were well received by Philometor, who al- 
lowed them to dwell in the neighbourhood of Heliopolis; 
and he gave them leave to build a temple and ordain 
priests for themselves. Onias built his temple at On 
or Onion, a city about twenty-three miles from Memphis, 
once the capital of the district of Heliopolis. It was on 
the site of an old Egyptian temple of the goddess Pasht, 
which had fallen into disuse and decay, and was built 
after the model of the temple of Jerusalem. Though by 
the Jewish law there was to be no second temple, yet 
Onias defended himself by quoting, as if meant for his 
own times, the words of Isaiah, who says that in that day 
there shall be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the 
land of Egypt. The building of this temple, and the 
celebrating the Jewish feasts there, as in rivalry to the 
temple of Jerusalem, were a never-failing cause of quar- 
rel between the Hebrew and the Greek Jews. They each 
altered the words of the Bible to make it speak their 
own opinions. The Hebrew Bible now says that the new 
temple was in the City of Destruction, and the Greek 
Bible says that it was in the City of Righteousness; 
whereas, from the Arabic version and some early com- 
mentaries, it seems that Isaiah was speaking of the city 
of Heliopolis, where there had been of old an altar to 


the Lord. The leaders of the Greek party wished the 
Jews to throw aside the character of strangers and for- 
eign traders; to be at home and to become owners of 
the soil. " Hate not laborious work," says the son of 
Sirach; " neither husbandry, which the Most High hath 

About the same time the Jews brought before Ptol- 
emy, as a judge, their quarrel with the Samaritans, as 
to whether, according to the law of Moses, the temple 
ought to have been built at Jerusalem, or on the green 
and fertile Mount Gerizim, where the Samaritans built 
their temple, or on the barren white crags of Mount Ebal, 
where the Hebrew Bible says that it should be built; and 
as to which nation had altered their copies of the Bible 
in the twenty-seventh chapter of Deuteronomy and 
eighth chapter of Joshua. This dispute had lately been 
the cause of riots and rebellion. Ptolemy seems to have 
decided the question for political reasons, and to please 
his own subjects, the Alexandrian Jews; and without lis- 
tening to the arguments as to what the law ordered, he 
was content with the proof that the temple had stood 
at Jerusalem for about eight hundred years, and he put 
to death the two Samaritan pleaders, who had probably 
been guilty of some outrage against the Jews in zeal 
for Mount Gerizim, and for which they might then have 
been on their trial. 

Onias, the high priest, was much esteemed by Phil- 
ometor, and bore high offices in the government; as also 
did Dositheus, another Jew, who had been very useful 
in helping the king to crush a rebellion. Dositheus called 


himself a priest and a Levite, though his title to that 
honour seems to have been doubted by his countrymen. 
He had brought with him into Egypt the book of Esther, 
written in Greek, which he said had been translated out 
of the Hebrew in Jerusalem by Lysimachus. It con- 
tained some additions for which the Hebrew has never 
been brought forward, and which are now placed among 
the uncanonical books in the Apocrypha. 

Since the Ptolemies had found themselves too weak 
to hold Ethiopia, they had placed a body of soldiers on 
the border of the two countries, to guard Egypt from 
the inroads of the enemy. This station, twelve miles 
to the south of Syene, had by degrees grown into a city, 
and w r as called Parembole, or The Camp; and, as most 
of the soldiers were Greek mercenaries, it was natural 
that the temple which Philometor built there should be 
dedicated in the Greek language. Of the temples hitherto 
built by the Ptolemies, in the Egyptian cities, every one 
seems to have had the king's name and titles, and its 
dedication to the gods, carved on its massive portico in 
hieroglyphics; but this was in a Greek city, and it was 
dedicated to Isis and Serapis, on behalf of Philometor 
and his queen, in a Greek inscription. 

Philometor also built a temple at Antseopolis to An- 
taeus, a god of whom we know little, but that he gave 
his name to the city; and another to Aroeris at Ombos; 
and in the same way he carved the dedications on the 
porticoes in the Greek language. This custom became 
common after that time, and proves both the lessened 
weight which the native Egyptians bore in the state, 


and that the kings had forgotten the wise rules of Ptol- 
emy Soter, in regard to the religious feelings of the 
people. They must have been greatly shocked by this 
use of foreign writing in the place of the old characters 
of the country, which, from having been used in the tem- 
ples, even for ages beyond the reach of history, had at 
last been called sacred. In the temple at Antasopolis we 
note a marked change in the style of building. The 
screen in front of the great portico is almost removed 
by having a doorway made in it between every pair of 

It is to this reign, also, that we seem to owe the great 
temple at Apollinopolis Magna, although it was not fin- 
ished till one or two reigns later. It is one of the largest 
and least ruined of the Egyptian temples. Its front is 
formed of two huge square towers, with sloping sides, 
between which is the narrow doorway, the only opening 
in its massive walls. Through this the worshipper en- 
tered a spacious courtyard or cloister, where he found 
shade from the sun under a covered walk on either side. 
In front is the lofty portico with six large columns, the 
entrance to the body of the building. This last is flat- 
roofed, and far lower than the grand portico which hid 
it from the eyes of the crowd in the courtyard. The 
staircases in the towers are narrow. The sacred rooms 
within were small and dark, with only a glimmering 
flame here and there before an altar, except when lighted 
up with a blaze of lamps on a feast-day. As a castle 
it must have had great strength; from the top and loop- 
holes of the two towers, stones and darts might be hurled 


at the enemy; and as it was in the hands of the Egyp- 
tians, it is the strongest proof that they were either not 
distrusted or not feared by their Greek rulers. The city 
of Apollinopolis stands on a grand and lofty situation, 
overlooking the river and the valley; and this proud 
temple, rising over all, can only have been planned by 
military skill as a fortress to command the whole. 

At this time the Greeks in Egypt were beginning to 
follow the custom of their Egyptian brethren, to take 
upon themselves monastic vows, and to shut themselves 
up in the temples in religious idleness. But these for- 
eigners were looked upon with jealousy by the Egyptian 
monks as intruders on their endowments, and we meet 
with a petition addressed to Philometor by Ptolemy, the 
son of Glaucias, a monk in the temple of Serapis at 
Memphis, who styles himself a Macedonian, complaining 
that his cell had been violently entered and himself ill- 
treated because he was a Greek; and reminding the king 
that last year, when the king visited the Serapium, he 
had addressed the same petition to him through the bars 
of his window. The priests in temples of Egypt were 
maintained, partly by their own estates, and partly by 
the offerings of the pious; and we still possess a deed 
of sale made in this reign by the Theban priests, of one- 
half of a third of their collections for the dead who 
had been buried in Thynabunum, the Libyan suburb of 
Thebes. This sixth share of the collections consisted of 
seven or eight families of slaves; the price of it was 
four hundred pieces of brass; the bargain was made in 
the presence of sixteen witnesses, whose names are 


given; and the deed was registered and signed by a 
public notary in the city of Thebes. The custom of 
giving offerings to the priests for the good of the dead 
would seem to have been a cause of some wealth to the 
temples. It was one among the many Egyptian customs 
forbidden by the law of Moses. 

From this deed of sale we also gain some knowledge 
of the state of slavery in Egypt. The names of the slaves 
and of their fathers are Koptic, and in some cases bor- 
rowed from the names of the gods; hence the slaves were 
probably of the same religion, and spoke nearly the same 
language as their masters. They sunk into that low 
state rather by their own want of mind than by their 
masters' power. In each case the slave was joined in 
the same lot with his children; and the low price of four 
hundred pieces of brass, perhaps about thirty-eight dol- 
lars for eight families, or even if it be meant for the half 
of eight families, proves that they were of the nature of 
serfs, and that the master, either by law or custom, could 
have had no power of cruelly overworking them. On 
the other hand, in the reign of Philadelphus, the pris- 
oners taken in battle, who might be treated with greater 
severity, were ransomed at fifteen dollars each. We see 
by the monuments that there were also a few negroes 
in the same unhappy state of slavery. They were prob- 
ably not treated much worse than the lowest class of 
those born on the soil, but they were much more valuable. 
Other slaves of the Berber race were brought in coasting 
vessels from Opone on the incense coast, near to the 
island of Dioscorides. 


Aristarchus, who had been the tutor of Euergetes II., 
and of a son of Philometor, was one of the ornaments 
of this reign. He had been a pupil of Aristophanes, the 
grammarian, and had then studied under Crates at Per- 
gamus, the rival school to Alexandria. He died at Cy- 
prus, whither he probably withdrew on the death of 
Philometor. He was chiefly known for his critical writ- 
ings, in which his opinions of poetry were thought so 
just that few dared to disagree with them; and his name 
soon became proverbial for a critic. Aristarchus had 
also the good fortune to be listened to in his lecture-room 
by one whose name is far more known than those of his 
two royal pupils. Moschus of Syracuse, the pastoral 
poet, was one of his hearers; but his fame must not be 
claimed for Alexandria; he can hardly have learned from 
the critic that just taste by which he joined softness 
and sweetness to the rude plainness of the Doric muse. 
Indeed in this he only followed his young friend Bion, 
whose death he so beautifully bewails, and from whose 
poems he generously o^yns that he learned so much. It 
may be as well to add that the lines in which he says 
that Theocritus, who had been dead above one hundred 
years, joined with him in his sorrow for the death of Bion 
are later additions not found in the early manuscripts 
of his poems. 

From our slight acquaintance with Bion's life, we 
are left in doubt whether he accompanied his friend 
Moschus to the court of Alexandria; but it is probable 
that he did. In his beautiful lamentation for the death 
of Adonis, we have an imitation of the melancholy chant 


of the Egyptians, named maneros, which they sang 
through the streets in the procession on the feast of Isis, 
when the crowd joined in the chorus, " Ah, hapless Isis, 
Osiris is no more." The tale has been a good deal 
changed by the Sicilian muse of Bion, but in the boar 
which killed Adonis, we have the wicked Typhon as 
carved on the monuments; we have also the wound in 
the thigh, and the consolations of the priests, who every 
year ended their mournful song with advising the god- 
dess to reserve her sorrow for another year, when on the 
return of the festival the same lament would be again 
celebrated. The whole poem has a depth and earnestness 
of feeling which is truly Egyptian, but which was very 
little known in Alexandria. 

To the Alexandrian grammarians, and more partic- 
ularly to Aristophanes, Aristarchus, and their pupil, 
Ammonius, we are indebted for our present copies of 
Homer. These critics acted like modern editors, each 
publishing an edition, or rather writing out a copy, which 
was then re-copied in the museum as often as called for 
by the demands of the purchasers of books. Aristopha- 
nes left perhaps only one such copy or edition, while 
Aristarchus, in his efforts to correct the text of the great 
epic poet, made several such copies. These were in the 
hands of the later scholiasts, who appealed to them as 
their authority, and ventured to make no further alter- 
ations; we therefore now read the Iliad and Odyssey 
nearly as left by these Alexandrian critics. They no 
doubt took some liberties in altering the spelling and 
smoothing the lines; and, though we should value most 



highly a copy in the rougher form in which it came into 
their hands, yet, on the whole, we must be great gainers 
by their labours. They divided the Iliad and Odyssey 
into twenty-four books each, and corrected the faulty 
metres; but one of their chief tasks was to set aside, or 

put a mark against, 
those more modern 
lines which had crept 
into the ancient poems. 
It had been usual to call 
every old verse Ho- 
mer's or Homeric, and 
these it was the busi- 
ness of the critic to 
mark as not genuine. 
Aristarchus was jo- 
cosely said to have 
called every line spuri- 
ous which he did not 
like; but everything 
that we can learn of 
him leads us to believe that he executed his task with 
judgment. From these men sprang the school of Alex- 
andrian grammarians, who for several centuries con- 
tinued their minute and often unprofitable studies in 
verbal criticism. 

These were the palmy days of criticism. Never before 
or since have critics held so high a place in literature. 
The world was called upon to worship and do honour 
to the poet, but chiefly that it might admire the skill of 



the critic who could name the several sources of his 
beauties. The critic now ranked higher than a priest 
at the foot of Mount Parnassus. Homer was lifted to 
the skies that the critic might stand on a raised pedestal 
among the Muses. Such seems to be the meaning of the 
figures on the upper part of the well-known sculpture 
called the Apotheosis of Homer. It was made in this 
reign; and at the foot Ptolemy and his mother, in the 
characters of Time and the World, are crowning the 
statue of the poet, in the presence of ten worshippers 
who represent the literary excellences which shine 
forth in his poems. The figures of the Iliad and Odyssey 
kneel beside his seat, and the Progs and Mice creep 
under his footstool, showing that the latter mock-heroic 
poem was already written and called the work of 

Other celebrities who flourished under the fifth Ptol- 
emy were Pamphilius, an Alexandrian physician who 
wrote on medical plants; Nicander, a poet and physi- 
cian who studied poisons, and the great Hipparchus, the 
founder of mathematical astronomv. Hero, 
also, in this reign, invented a kind of prim- 
itive steam-engine. These men and their 
contemporaries were in the habit of writing 
their scientific observations in the form of 
poetry, but it was verse without earnest- hero^^t!^; 

T p t t , r» . i STEAM-ENGINE. 

ness and reeling, and such of it as sur- 
vives is valued not for its literary qualities or charms 
of diction, but for the side-lights it throws upon the 
manners and education of the age. 


The portrait of the king is known from those coins 
which bear the name of " King Ptolemy the mother- 
loving god. 19 The eagle on the other side of the coins 
has a phoenix or palm-branch on its wing or by its side, 
which may be supposed to mean that they were struck 
in Phoenicia. We have not before met with the title of 
" god, 71 on the coins of the Ptolemies; but, as every one 
of them had been so named in the hieroglyphical inscrip- 
tions, it can scarcely be called new. 

When Philometor quitted the island of Cyprus after 
beating his brother in battle, he left Archias as governor, 
who entered into a plot to give it up to Demetrius, King 
of Syria, for the sum of five hundred talents. But the 
plot was found out, and the traitor then put an end to 
his own life, to escape from punishment and self- 
reproach. By this treachery of Demetrius, Philometor 
was made his enemy, and he joined Attalus, King of 
Pergamus, and Ariarathes, King of Cappadocia, in set- 
ting up Alexander Balas as a pretender to the throne 
of Syria, who beat Demetrius in battle, and put him to 
death. Philometor two years afterwards gave his elder 
daughter, Cleopatra, in marriage to Alexander, and led 
her himself to Ptolemais, or Acre, where the marriage 
was celebrated with great pomp. 

But even in Ptolemais, the city in which Alexander 
had been so covered with favours, Philometor was near 
falling under the treachery of his new son-in-law. He 
learned that a plot had been formed against his life by 
Ammonius, and he wrote to Alexander to beg that the 
traitor might be given up to justice. But Alexander 



acknowledged the plot as his own, and refused to give 
up his servant. On this, Philometor recalled his daugh- 
ter, and turned against Alexander the forces which he 
had led into Syria to uphold him. He then sent to the 
young Demetrius, afterwards called Mcator, the son of 
his late enemy, to offer him the throne and wife which 
he had lately given to Alexander Balas. Demetrius was 
equally pleased with the two offers. Philometor then 
entered Antioch at the head of his army, and there he 
was proclaimed by the citizens King of Asia and Egypt; 
but with a forbearance then very uncommon, he called 
together the council of the people, and refused the crown, 
and persuaded them to receive Demetrius as their king. 

It is interesting to note 
that Alexander Balas and 
Demetrius Mcator each 
in his turn acknowledged 
his debt to the King of 
Egypt by putting the 
Ptolemaic eagle on his 
coins, and adjusting them to the Egyptian standard of 
weight: and in this they were afterwards followed by 
Antiochus, the son of Demetrius. The Eomans, on the 
other hand, sometimes used the same eagle in boast of 
their power over Egypt; but we cannot be mistaken 
in what was meant by these Syrian kings, who none of 
them, when their coins were struck, were seated safely 
on the throne. With them, as with some of the Greek 
cities of Asia Minor, the use of the Egyptian eagle on 
the coins was an act of homage. 



Philometor and Demetrius, as soon as the latter was 
acknowledged king at Antioch, then marched against 
Alexander, routed his army, and drove him into Arabia. 
But in this battle Philometor's horse was frightened by 
the braying of an elephant, and threw the king into the 
ranks of the enemy, and he was taken up covered with 
wounds. He lay speechless for five days, and the sur- 
geons then endeavoured to cut out a piece of the broken 
bone from his skull. He died under the operation: but 
not before the head of Alexander had been brought to 
him as the proof of his victory. 

Thus fell Ptolemy Philometor in the forty-second 
year of his age. His reign began in trouble; before he 
reached the years of manhood the country had been over- 
run by foreigners, and torn to pieces by civil war; but 
he left the kingdom stronger than he found it, a praise 
which he alone can share with Ptolemy Soter. He was 
alike brave and mild; he was the only one of the race 
who fell in battle, and the only one whose hands were 
unstained with civil blood. At an age and in a country 
when poison and the dagger were too often the means 
by which the king's authority was upheld, when good- 
ness was little valued, and when conquests were thought 
the only measure of greatness, he spared the life of a 
brother taken in battle, he refused the crown of Syria 
when offered to him; and not only no one of his friends 
or kinsmen, but no citizen of Alexandria, was put to 
death during the whole of his reign. We find grateful 
inscriptions to his honour at the city of Citium in Cyprus, 
in the island of Therse, and at Methone in Argolis. 


Philometor had reigned thirty-five years in all; 
eleven years alone, partly while under age, then six years 
jointly with his brother, Euergetes II., and eighteen 
more alone while his brother reigned in Cyrene. He 
married his sister Cleopatra, and left her a widow, with 
two daughters, each named Cleopatra. The elder daugh- 
ter we have seen offered to Euergetes, then married to 
Alexander Balas, and lastly to Demetrius. The younger 
daughter, afterwards known by the name of Cleopatra 
Cocce, was still in the care of her mother. He had most 
likely had three sons. One perhaps had been the pupil 
of Aristarchus, and died before his father; as the little 
elegy by Antipator of Sidon, which is addressed to the 
dead child, on the grief of his father and mother, would 
seem to be meant for a son of Philometor. A second 
son was murdered, and a third lived in Syria. 

On the death of Philometor, his widow, Cleopatra, 
and some of the chief men of Alexandria proclaimed his 
young son king, most likely under the name of Ptolemy 
Eupator; but Euergetes, whose claim was favoured by 
the mob, marched from Cyrene to Alexandria to seize 
the crown of Egypt. Onias the Jew defended the city 
for Cleopatra; but a peace was soon made by the help 
of Thermus, the Roman ambassador, and on this the 
gates of Alexandria were opened. It was agreed that 
Euergetes should be king, and marry Cleopatra, his sis- 
ter and his brother's widow. We may take it for granted 
that one article of the treaty was that her son should 
reign on the death of his uncle; but Euergetes, forget- 
ting that he owed his own life to Philometor, and also 


disregarding the Romans who were a party to the treaty, 
had the boy put to death on the day of the marriage. 

The Alexandrians, after the vices and murders of 
former kings, could not have been much struck by the 
behaviour of Euergetes towards his family; but he was 
not less cruel towards his people. Alexandria, which he 
had entered peaceably, was handed over to the unbridled 
cruelty of the mercenaries, and blood flowed in every 
street. The anger of Euergetes fell more particularly 
on the Jews for the help which they had given to Cleo- 
patra, and he threatened them with utter destruction. 
The threat was not carried into execution; but such was 
the Jews' alarm, that they celebrated a yearly festival 
in Alexandria for several hundred years, in thankfulness 
for their escape from it. The population of the city, 
who looked upon it less as a home than as a place of 
trade in which they could follow their callings with the 
greatest gain, seemed to quit Alexandria as easily as 
they had come there under Ptolemy Soter; and Euer- 
getes, who was afraid that he should soon be left to 
reign over a wilderness, made new laws in favour of 
trade and of strangers who would settle there. 

In the lifetime of Philometor he had never laid aside 
his claim to the throne of Egypt, but had only yielded 
to the commands of Rome and to his brother's forces, 
and he now numbered the years of his reign from his 
former seizing of Alexandria. He had reigned six years 
with his brother, and then eighteen years in Cyrene, 
and he therefore called the first year of his real reign 
the twenty-fifth. 



In the next year he went to Memphis to be crowned; 
and, while the pomps and rites were there being per- 
formed, his queen and sister bore him a son, whom, from 
the place and to please the people, he named Memphites. 
But his queen was already in disgrace; and some of 
those very friends who on his brother's death had 
marched with him against Alexandria were publicly put 
to death for speaking ill 
of his mistress Irene. 
He soon afterwards put 
away his wife and mar- 
ried her younger daugh- 
ter, his niece, Cleopatra 
Cocce. The divorced 
Cleopatra was allowed 
to keep her title; and, 
as she was the widow of 
the late king, she held 
a rank in the state be- 
fore the wife of the 
reigning king. Thus, 
the small temple of 
Hathor in the island of Philse was dedicated to the god- 
dess in the name of King Ptolemy and Queen Cleopatra 
his sister, and Queen Cleopatra his wife, designated as 
the gods Euergetae. 

The Roman senate, however, felt its authority slighted 
by this murder of the young Eupator, and divorce of 
Cleopatra, both of whom were living under its protec- 
tion. The late ambassador, Thermus, by whose treachery 



or folly Euergetes had been enabled to crush his rivals 
and gain the sovereign power, was on his return to Rome 
called to account for his conduct. Cato the Censor, in 
one of his great speeches, accused him of having been 
seduced from his duty by the love of Egyptian gold, and 
of having betrayed the queen to the bribes of Euergetes. 
In the meanwhile Scipio Africanus the younger and two 
other Roman ambassadors were sent by the senate to see 
that the kingdom of their ally was peaceably settled. 
Euergetes went to meet him with great pomp, and re- 
ceived him with all the honours due to his rank; and the 
whole city followed him in crowds through the streets, 
eager to catch a sight of the conqueror of Carthage, of the 
greatest man who had been seen in Alexandria, of one 
who by his virtues and his triumphs had added a new 
glory even to the name of Scipio. He brought with him, 
as his friend and companion (in the case of a modern 
ambassador w r e should say, as his chaplain), the philoso- 
pher, Panaetius, the chief of the Stoics, who had gained 
a great name for his three books on the " Duty of Man," 
which were afterwards copied by Cicero. 

Euergetes showed them over the palace and the treas- 
ury; but, though the Romans had already begun to run 
the down-hill race of luxury, in which the Egyptians were 
so far ahead of them, yet Scipio, w T ho held to the old 
fashions and plain manners of the republic, was not 
dazzled by mere gold and purple. But the trade of Alex- 
andria, the natural harbour, the forest of masts, and the 
lighthouse, the only one in the world, surpassed anything 
that his well-stored mind had looked for. He went by 



boat to Memphis, and saw the rich crops on either bank, 
and the easy navigation of the Nile, in which the boats 
were sailing up the river by the force of the wind and 
floating down by the force of the stream. The villages 
on the river side were large and thickly set, each in the 
bosom of its own grove of palm-trees; and the crowded 
population was well fed and well clothed. The Roman 
statesman saw that nothing was wanting but a good gov- 
ernment to make Egypt what it used to be, the greatest 
kingdom in the world. 

Scipio went no higher than Memphis; the buildings 
of Upper Egypt, the oldest and the largest in the world, 
could not draw him to Thebes, a city whose trade had 
fallen off, where the deposits of bullion in the temples 
had lessened, and whose linen manufacture had moved 
towards the Delta. Had this great statesman been a 
Greek he would perhaps have gone on to this city, fa- 
mous alike in history and in poetry; but, as it was, Scipio 
and his friends then sailed for Cyprus, Syria, and the 
other provinces or kingdoms under the power of Rome, 
to finish this tour of inspection. 

For some time past, the Jews, taking advantage of 
the weakness of Egypt and Syria, had been struggling 
to make themselves free; and, at the beginning of this 
reign Simon Maccabaeus, the high priest, sent an embassy 
to Rome, with a shield of gold weighing one thousand 
minae, as a present, to get their independence acknowl- 
edged by the Romans. On this the senate made a treaty 
of alliance with the family of the Maccabees, and, using 
the high tone of command to which they had for some 


time past been accustomed, they wrote to Euergetes and 
the King of Syria, ordering them not to make war upon 
their friends, the Jews. But in an after decree the Ro- 
mans recognise the close friendship and the trading inter- 
course between Egypt and Judaea; and when they de- 
clared that they would protect the Jews in their right 
to levy custom-house duties, they made an exception in 
favour of the Egyptian trade. The people of Judaea in 
these struggles were glad to forget the jealousy which 
had separated them from their brethren in Egypt, and 
the old quarrel between the Hebrews and the Hellenists; 
the Sanhedrim of Jerusalem wrote to the Sanhedrim of 
Alexandria, telling them that they were going to keep the 
Feast of the Tabernacles in solemn thanksgiving to the 
Almighty for their deliverance, and begging for the ben- 
efit of their prayers. 

The Jews, however, of Judaea, on their gaining their 
former place as a nation, did not, as before, carry for- 
ward the chain of history in their sacred books. While 
they had been under the yoke of the Babylonians, the 
Persians, and the Syrians, their language had undergone 
some changes; and when the Hebrew of the Old Testa- 
ment was no longer the spoken language, they perhaps 
thought it unworthy of them to write in any other. At 
any rate, it is to their Greek brethren in Egypt that we 
are indebted for the history of the bravery of the Macca- 
bees. Jason of Cyrene wrote the history of the Macca- 
bees, and of the Jewish wars against Antiochus Epipha- 
nes and his son, Antiochus Eupator. This work, which 
was in five books, is lost, and we now read only the short 


history which was drawn from it by some unknown 
Greek writer, which, with the letter from the Jews of 
Judaea to their brethren of Egypt, forms the second book 
of Maccabees. 

In the list of Alexandrian authors, we must not for- 
get to mention Jesus, the son of Sirach, who came into 
Egypt in this reign, and translated into Greek the He- 
brew work of his grandfather Jesus, which is named the 
Book of Wisdom, or Ecclesiasticus. It is written in 
imitation of the Proverbs of Solomon; and though its 
pithy sayings fall far short of the deep wisdom and lofty 
thoughts which crowd every line of that wonderful work, 
yet it will always be read with profit and pleasure. In 
this book we see the earliest example that we now possess 
of a Jewish writer borrowing from the Greek philoso- 
phers; though how far the Greek thoughts were part 
of the original Hebrew may be doubted, because the work 
was left unfinished by Jesus the grandfather, and 
completed by the Alexandrian translator, his grandson. 
Hereafter we shall see the Alexandrian Jews engrafting 
on the Jewish theology more and more of the Platonic 
philosophy, which very well suited the serious earnest- 
ness of their character, and which had a most remarkable 
effect in making their writings and opinions more fitted 
to spread into the ancient' schools. 

This and other writings of the Alexandrian Jews were 
by them added to the list of sacred books which together 
made their Greek Bible; but they were never acknowl- 
edged at Jerusalem. The Hebrew books of the law and 
the prophets were first gathered together by Nehemiah 


after the return of the Hebrews from Babylon; but 
his library had been broken up during the Syrian wars. 
These Hebrew books, with some few which had since 
been written, were again got together by Judas Macca- 
bseus; and after his time nothing more seems to have 
been added to them, though the Alexandrian Jews con- 
tinued to add new books to their Greek Bible, while cul- 
tivating the Platonic philosophy with a success which 
made a change in their religious opinions. It was in 
Alexandria, and very much by the help of the Jews, that 
Eastern and Western opinions now met. Each made 
some change in the other, and, on the union of the two, 
Alexandria gave to the world a new form of philosophy. 
The vices and cruelty of Euergetes called for more 
than usual skill in the minister to keep down the angry 
feelings of the people. This skill was found in the gen- 
eral Hierax, who was one of those men whose popular 
manners, habits of business, and knowledge of war, make 
them rise over every difficulty in times of trouble. On 
him rested the whole weight of the government; his wise 
measures in part made up for the vices of his master; 
and, when the treasure of the state had been turned to 
the king's pleasures, and the soldiers were murmuring 
for want of pay, Hierax brought forward his own money 
to quiet the rebellion. But at last the people could bear 
their grievances no longer; the soldiers without pay, 
instead of guarding the throne, were its greatest enemies, 
and the mob rose in Alexandria, set fire to the palace, 
and Euergetes was forced to leave the city and withdraw 
to Cyprus. 


The Alexandrians, when free from their tyrant, sent 
for Cleopatra, his sister and divorced queen, and set her 
upon the throne. Her son by Philometor, in whose name 
she had before claimed the throne, had been put to death 
by Euergetes; Memphites, one of her sons by Euergetes, 
was with his father in the island of Cyprus; and Euer- 
getes, fearing that his first wife Cleopatra and her ad- 
visers might make use of his son's name to strengthen 
her throne, had the child at once put to death. The birth- 
day of Cleopatra was at hand, and it was to be celebrated 
in Alexandria with the usual pomp; and Euergetes, put- 
ting the head, hands, and feet of his son Memphites into 
a box, sent it to Alexandria by a messenger, who had 
orders to deliver it to Cleopatra in the midst of the feast, 
when the nobles and ambassadors were making their 
accustomed gifts. The grief of Cleopatra was only 
equalled by the anger of the Alexandrians, who the more 
readily armed themselves under Marsyas to defend the 
queen against the invasion for which Euergetes was then 
making preparations. 

The queen's forces shortly marched against the army 
of Euergetes that was entering Egypt under the com- 
mand of Hegelochus; but the Egyptian army was beaten 
on the Syrian frontier. Marsyas was sent prisoner to 
Euergetes; and the king then showed the only act of 
mercy which can be mentioned to his praise, and spared 
the life of a prisoner whom he thought he could make 
use of. Cleopatra then sent to Syria, to her son-in-law 
Demetrius, to ask for help, which was at first readily 
granted, but Demetrius was soon called home again by 


a rising in Antioch. But great indeed must be the cruelty 
which a people will not bear from their own king rather 
than call in a foreign master to relieve them. The return 
of the hated and revengeful Euergetes was not dreaded 
so much by the Alexandrians as the being made a prov- 
ince of Syria. Cleopatra received no help from Deme- 
trius, but she lost the love of her people by asking for 
it, and she was soon forced to fly from Alexandria. She 
put her treasures on board a ship, and joined her son 
Ptolemy and her son-in-law Demetrius in Syria, while 
Euergetes regained his throne. As soon as Euergetes 
was again master of Egypt, it was his turn to be revenged 
upon Demetrius; and he brought forward Zabbineus, a 
young Egyptian, the son of Protarchus, a merchant, and 
sent him into Syria with an army to claim the throne 
under the name of Alexander, the adopted son of Anti- 
ochus. Alexander easily conquered and then put to 
death Demetrius, but, when he found that he really was 
King of Syria, he would no longer receive orders from 
Egypt; and Euergetes found that the same plots and 
forces were then wanted to put down this puppet, which 
he had before used to set him up. He began by making 
peace with his sister Cleopatra, who was again allowed 
to return to Egypt; and we find her name joined with 
those of Euergetes and his second queen in one of the 
public acts of the priests. He then sent an army and 
his daughter Tryphaena in marriage to Antiochus Grypus, 
one of the sons of Demetrius, who gladly received his 
help, and conquered Alexander and gained the throne 
of his father. 




•■ V 5 

& .xh 4fel W* 




We possess a curious inscription upon an obelisk that 
once stood in the island of Philae, recording, as one of 
the grievances that the villagers smarted under, the 
necessity of finding supplies for the troops on their 
marches, and also for all the government messengers and 
public servants, or those who claimed to travel as such. 
The cost of this grievance was probably greater at Philae 
than in other places, because the traveller was there 
stopped in his voyage by the cataracts on the Nile, and 
he had to be supplied with labourers to carry his luggage 
where the navigation was interrupted. Accordingly the 
priests at Philae petitioned the king that their temple 
might be relieved from this heavy and vexatious charge, 
which they said lessened their power of rightly perform- 
ing their appointed sacrifices; and they further begged 
to be allowed to set up a monument to record the grant 
which they hoped for. Euergetes granted the priests' 
prayer, and accordingly they set up a small obelisk; and 
the petition and the king's answer were carved on the 
base of this monument. 

The gold mines near the Nubian or Golden Berenice, 
though not so rich as they used to be, were worked with 
full activity by the unhappy prisoners, criminals, and 
slaves, who were there condemned to labour in gangs 
under the lash of their taskmasters. Men and women 
alike, even old men and children, each at such work as 
his overstretched strength was equal to, were imprisoned 
in these caverns tunnelled under the sea or into the side 
of the mountain; and there by torchlight they suffered 
the cruel tortures of their overseers without having power 


to make their groans heard above ground. No lot upon 
earth could be more wretched than that of these unhappy 
men; to all of them death would have been thought a 

The survey of the coast of the Red Sea, which was 
undertaken in this or the last reign, did not reach beyond 
the northern half of that sea. It was made by Agathar- 
cides, who, when the philosopher Heracleides Lembus 
filled the office of secretary to the government under 
Philometor, had been his scribe and reader. Agathar- 
cides gives a curious account of the half-savage people 
on these coasts, and of the more remarkable animals and 
products of the country. He was a most judicious his- 
torian, and gave a better guess than many at the true 
cause of why there was most water in the Nile in the 
dryest season of the year; which was a subject of never- 
ceasing inquiry with the travellers and writers on physics. 
Thales said that its waters were held back at its mouths 
by the Etesian winds, which blow from the north during 
the summer months; and Democritus of Abdera said 
that these winds carried heavy rain-clouds to Ethiopia; 
whereas the north winds do not begin to blow till the 
Nile has risen, and the river has returned to its usual 
size before the winds cease. Anaxagoras, who was fol- 
lowed by Euripides, the poet, thought that the large sup- 
ply of water came from the melting of snow in Ethiopia. 
Ephorus thought that there were deep springs in the 
river's bed, which gushed forth with greater force in 
summer than in winter. Herodotus and CEnopides both 
thought that the river was in its natural state when the 


country was overflowed; and the former said that its 
waters were lessened in winter by the attraction of the 
sun, then over Southern Ethiopia; and the latter said 
that, as the earth grew cool, the waters were sucked into 
its pores. The sources of the Nile were hidden by the 
barbarism of the tribes on its banks; but by this time 
travellers had reached the region of tropical rains; and 
Agatharcides said that the overflow in Egypt arose from 
the rains in Upper Ethiopia. But the Abyssinian rains 
begin to fall at midsummer, too late to cause the inun- 
dation in Egypt; and therefore the truth seemed after 
all to lie with the priests of Memphis, who said the Nile 
rises on the other side of the equator, and the rain falling 
in what was winter on that side of the globe made the 
Nile overflow in the Egyptian summer. 

Prom the very earliest times, says Ebers, the Pha- 
raohs had understood the necessity of measuring exactly 
the amount or deficiency of the inundations of the Nile, 
and Nilometers are preserved which were erected high 
up the river in Nubia by kings of the Old Empire, by 
princes, that is to say, who reigned before the invasion 
of the Hyksos. Herodotus tells us that the river must 
rise sixteen ells for the inundation to be considered a 
favourable one. If it remained below this mark, the 
higher fields failed in obtaining a due supply of water, 
and a dearth was the result. If it greatly exceeded it, 
it broke down the dykes, damaged the villages, and had 
not retired into its bed by the time for sowing the seed. 
Thus the peasant, who could expect no rain, and was 
threatened neither by frosts nor storms, could have his 



prospects of a good or bad harvest read off by the priests 
with perfect certainty by the scale of the Nilometer, and 
not by the servants of the divinities only, but by the 
officers of the realm, who calculated the amount of taxes 
to be paid to them in proportion to the rising of the river. 
The standard was protected by the magic power of 
unapproachable sanctity, and the husbandman has been 

strictly interdicted from 
the earliest time to this 
very day from casting a 
glance at it during the time 
when the river is rising; for 
what sovereign could bear 
to disclose without reserve 
the decrees of Providence 
as to the most important 
of his rights, that of esti- 
mating the amount of taxes 
to be imposed? In the time 
of the Pharaohs it was the 
priesthood that declared to 
the king and to the people 
their estimate of the inun- 
dations, and at the present 
day, the sheik, who is 
sworn to secrecy, is under 
the control of the police of Cairo, and has his own Ni- 
lometer, the zero point of which is said to be somewhat 
below that of the ancient standard. The engineers of 
the French expedition first detected the fraud, by means 



of which the government endeavoured every year to 
secure the full amount of taxes. 

When the Nile has reached a height of a little over 
fifteen old Arabic ells, it exceeds its lowest level by 
more than eight ells, and has reached the height requi- 
site to enable it to irrigate the highest fields. This 
happy event is announced to the people, who await it 
with breathless anxiety, and the opening of the dykes 
may be proceeded with. A festival to celebrate this 
occasion has been held from the remotest times. At the 
present time customs prevail which can, it is alleged, be 
traced by direct descent to the times of the Pharaohs, 
and yet during the dominion of Christianity in Egypt, 
and later again under sovereigns governing a nation 
wholly converted to Islam, the old worship of the Nile, 
with all its splendour, its display, and its strange cere- 
monies, was extirpated with the utmost rigour. But some 
portion of every discarded religion becomes merged in 
the new one that has supplanted it as a fresh form of 
superstition, and thus we discover from a Christian docu- 
ment dating from the sixth century, that the rising of 
the Nile " in its time " was no longer attributed to 
Osiris, but to a certain Saint Orion, and, as the priest 
of antiquity taught that a tear of Isis led to the over- 
flowing of the Nile, so we hear the Egyptians of the pres- 
ent day say that " a divine tear " has fallen into the 
stream and caused the flood. 

The trade of the Egyptians had given them very 
little knowledge of geography. Indeed the whole trade 
of the ancients was carried on by buying goods from 


their nearest neighbours on one side, and selling them to 
those on the other side of them. Long voyages were 
unknown; and, though the trading wealth of Egypt had 
mainly arisen from carrying the merchandise of India 
and Arabia Felix from the ports on the Red Sea to 
the ports on the Mediterranean, the Egyptians seem to 
have gained no knowledge of the countries from which 
these goods came. They bought them of the Arab tra- 
ders, who came to Cosseir and the Troglodytic Berenice 
from the opposite coast; the Arabs had probably bought 
them from the caravans that had carried them across the 
desert from the Persian Gulf; and that these land jour- 
neys across the desert were both easier and cheaper than 
a coasting voyage, we have before learned, from Phila- 
delphus thinking it worth while to build watering and 
resting-houses in the desert between Koptos and Bere- 
nice, to save the voyage between Berenice and Cosseir. 
India seems to have been only known to the Greeks 
as a country that by sea was to be reached by the way 
of the Euphrates and the Persian Gulf; and though 
Scylax had, by the orders of Darius, dropped down the 
river Indus, coasted Arabia, and thence reached the 
Red Sea, this voyage was either forgotten or disbelieved, 
and in the time of the Ptolemies it seems probable that 
nobody thought that India could be reached by sea from 
Egypt. Arrian indeed thought that the difficulty of 
carrying water in their small ships, with large crews 
of rowers, was alone great enough to stop a voyage of 
such a length along a desert coast that could not supply 
them with fresh water. 


The long voyages of Solomon and Necho had been 
limited to coasting Africa; the voyage of Alexander 
the Great had been from the Indus to the Persian Gulf; 
hence it was that the court of Euergetes was startled 
by the strange news that the Arabian guards on the 
coast of the Red Sea had found a man in a boat by him- 
self, who could not speak Koptic, but who they after- 
wards found was an Indian, who had sailed straight 
from India, and had lost his shipmates. He was willing 
to show any one the route by which he had sailed; and 
Eudoxus of Cyzicus in Asia Minor came to Alexandria 
to persuade Euergetes to give him the command of a 
vessel for this voyage of discovery. A vessel was given 
him; and, though he was but badly fitted out, he reached 
a country, which he called India, by sea, and brought 
back a cargo of spices and precious stones. He wrote 
an account of the coasts which he visited, and it was 
made use of by Pliny. But it is more than probable 
the unknown country called India, which Eudoxus vis- 
ited, was on the west coast of Africa. Abyssinia was 
often called India by the ancients. 

In these attempts at maritime discovery, and efforts 
after a cheaper means of obtaining the Indian products, 
the Greek sailors of Euergetes made a settlement in 
the island of Dioscorides, now called Socotara, in the 
Indian Ocean, forty leagues eastward of the coast of 
Africa; and there they met the trading vessels from 
India and Ceylon. This little island continued a Greek 
colony for upwards of seven centuries, and Greek was 
the only language spoken there till it fell under the 


Arabs in the twilight of history, when all the European 
possessions in Africa were overthrown. But the art of 
navigation was so far unknown that but little use was 
made of this voyage; the goods of India, which were 
all costly and of small weight, were still for the most 
part carried across the desert on camels' backs, and we 
may remark that at a later period hardly more than 
twenty small vessels ever went to India in one year 
during the reigns of the Ptolemies, and that it was not 
till Egypt was a province of Rome that the trade-winds 
across the Arabian Sea were found out by Hippalus, 
a pilot in the Indian trade. The voyage was little known 
in the time of Pliny; even the learned Propertius seems 
to have thought that silk was a product of Arabia; and 
Palmyra and Petra, the two chief cities in the desert, 
whose whole wealth rested and whose very being hung 
upon their being watering-places for these caravans, 
were still wealthy cities in the second century of our 
era, when the voyage by the Arabian Sea became for 
the first time easier and cheaper than the journeys across 
the desert. 

Euergetes had been a pupil of Aristobolus, a learned 
Jew, a writer of the peripatetic sect of philosophers, 
one who had made his learning respected by the pagans 
from his success in cultivating their philosophy; and 
also of Aristarchus, the grammarian, the editor of 
Homer; and, though the king had given himself up to 
the lowest pleasures, yet he held with his crown that 
love of letters and of learning which had ennobled his 
forefathers. He was himself an author, and wrote, like 


Ptolemy Soter, his Memorabilia, or an account of what 
he had seen most remarkable in his lifetime. We may 
suppose that his writings were not of a very high order; 
they were quoted by Athenaeus, who wrote in the reign 
of Marcus Aurelius; but we learn little else from them 
than the names of the mistresses of Ptolemy Philadel- 
phus, and that a flock of pheasants was kept in the palace 
of Alexandria. He also wrote a commentary on Homer, 
of which we know nothing. When busy upon literature, 
he would allow his companions to argue with him till 
midnight on a point of history or a verse of poetry; 
but not one of them ever uttered a word against his 
tyranny, or argued in favour of a less cruel treatment 
of his enemies. 

In this reign the schools of Alexandria, though not 
holding the rank which they had gained under Philadel- 
phus, were still highly thought of. The king still gave 
public salaries to the professors; and Panaretus, who 
had been a pupil of the philosopher Arcesilaus, received 
the very large sum of twelve talents, or ten thousand 
dollars a year. Sositheus and his rival, the younger 
Homer, the tragic poets of this reign, have even been 
called two of the Pleiades of Alexandria; but that was 
a title given to many authors of very different times, and 
to some of very little merit. Such indeed was the want 
of merit among the poets of Alexandria that many of 
their names would have been unknown to posterity had 
they not been saved in the pages of the critics and 
grammarians, and pieced together by the skill of nine- 
teenth century investigators. 



But, unfortunately, the larger number of the men 
of letters had in the late wars taken part with Philome- 
tor against the cruel and luxurious Euergetes. Hence, 
when the streets of Alexandria were flowing with the 
blood of those whom he called his enemies, crowds of 


learned men left Egypt, and were driven to earn a live- 
lihood by teaching in the cities to which they then fled. 
They were all Greeks, and few of them had been born 
in Alexandria. They had been brought there by the 
wealth of the country and the favour of the sovereign; 
and they now withdrew when these advantages were 
taken away from them. The isles and coasts of the 


Mediterranean were so filled with grammarians, phi- 
losophers, geometers, musicians, schoolmasters, paint- 
ers, and physicians from Alexandria that the cruelty 
of Euergetes II., like the taking of Constantinople by 
the Turks, may be said to have spread learning by the 
ill-treatment of its professors. 

The city which was then rising highest in arts and 
letters was Pergamus in Asia Minor, which, under Eu- 
menes and Attalus, was almost taking the place which 
Alexandria had before held. Its library already held 
two hundred thousand volumes, and raised a jealousy 
in the mind of Euergetes. Not content with buying 
books and adding to the size of his own library, he 
wished to lessen the libraries of his rivals; and, nettled 
at the number of volumes which Eumenes had got to- 
gether at Pergamus, he made a law, forbidding the 
export of the Egyptian papyrus on which they were 
written. On this the copiers employed by Eumenes 
wrote their books upon sheepskins, which were called 
charta pergamena, or parchment, from the name of the 
city in which they were written. Thus our own two 
words, parchment from Pergamus, and paper from pa- 
pyrus, remain as monuments of the rivalry in book- 
collecting between the two kings. 

Euergetes was so bloated with disease that his body 
was nearly six feet round, and he was made weak and 
slothful by this weight of flesh. He walked with a 
crutch, and wore a loose robe like a woman's, which 
reached to his feet and hands. He gave himself up very 
much to eating and drinking, and on the year that he 


was chosen priest of Apollo by the Cyrenians, he 
showed his pleasure at the honour by a memorable feast 
which he gave in a costly manner to all those who had 
before filled that office. He had reigned six years with 
his brother, then eighteen years in Cyrene, and lastly 
twenty-nine years after the death of his brother, and 
he died in the fifty-fourth year of his reign, and per- 
haps the sixty-ninth of his age. He left a widow, Cleo- 
patra Cocce; two sons, Ptolemy and Ptolemy Alexander; 
and three daughters, Cleopatra, married to her elder 
brother; Tryphaena, married to Antiochus Grypus; and 
Selene unmarried; and also a natural son, Ptolemy 
Apion, to whom by will he left the kingdom of Cyrene; 
while he left the kingdom of Egypt to his widow and 
one of his sons, giving her the power of choosing which 
should be her colleague. The first Euergetes earned 
and deserved the name, which was sadly disgraced by 
the second; but such was the fame of Egypt's greatness 
that the titles of its kings were copied in nearly every 
Greek kingdom. We meet, with the flattering names of 
Soter, Philadelphus, Euergetes, and the rest, on the 
coins of Syria, Parthia, Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, Pon- 
tus, Bactria, and Bithynia; while that of Euergetes, 
the benefactor, was at last used as another name for a 



The weakness of the Ptolemies : Egypt bequeathed to Rome : Pompey, Caesar, 

and Antony befriend Egypt. 


HN the death of Ptolemy Euergetes II., 
his widow, Cleopatra Cocce, would 
have chosen her younger son, Ptolemy 
Alexander, then a child, for her partner 
on the throne, most likely because it 
would have been longer in the course 
of years before he would have claimed 
his share of power; but she was forced, by a threat- 
ened rising of the Alexandrians, to make her elder son 
king. Before, however, she would do this she made a 
treaty with him, which would strongly prove, if any- 
thing were still wanting, the vice and meanness of the 
Egyptian court. It was, that, although married to his 
sister Cleopatra, of whom he was very fond, he should 
put her away, and marry his younger sister Selene; 
because the mother hoped that Selene would be false to 
her husband's cause, and weaken his party in the state 
by her treachery. 



Ptolemy took the name of Soter II., though he is 
more often called Lathyrus, from a stain upon his face 
in the form of an ivy -leaf , pricked into his skin in honour 
of Osiris. He was also called Philometor; and we learn 
from an inscription on a temple at Apollinopolis Parva, 
that both these names formed part of the style in which 
the public acts ran in this reign; it is dedicated by " the 
Queen Cleopatra and King Ptolemy, gods Philometores, 
Soteres, and his children," without mentioning his wife. 
Here, as in Persia and Judaea, the king's mother often 
held rank above his wife. The name of Philometor was 
given to him by his mother, because, though he had 
reached the years of manhood, she wished to act as his 
guardian; but her unkindness to him was so remarkable 
that historians have thought that it was a nickname. 
The mother and the son were jointly styled sovereigns 
of Egypt; but they lived apart, and in distrust of one 
another, each surrounded by personal friends; while 
Cleopatra's stronger mind and greater skill in king- 
craft gained for her the larger share of power, and the 
effective control of Egypt. 

Cleopatra, the daughter, put away by her husband at 
the command of her mother, soon made a treaty of mar- 
riage with Antiochus Cyzicenus, the friend of her 
late husband, who was struggling for the throne of 
Syria with his brother, Antiochus Grypus, the husband 
of her sister Tryphaena; and on her way to Syria she 
stopped at Cyprus, where she raised a large army and 
took it with her as her dower, to help her new husband 
against his brother and her sister. 


With this addition to his army Cyzicenus thought 
his forces equal to those of his brother; he marched 
against him and gave him battle. But he was beaten, 
and he fled with his wife Cleopatra; and they shut them- 
selves up in the city of Antioch. Grypus and Tryphaena 
then laid siege to the city, and the astute Tryphaena 
soon took her revenge on her sister for coming into Syria 
to marry the brother and rival of her husband. The city 
was taken; and Tryphaena ordered her sister to be torn 
from the temple into which she had fled, and to be put 
to death. In vain Grypus urged that he did not wish 
his victory to be stained by the death of a sister; that 
Cleopatra was by marriage his sister as well as hers; 
that she was the aunt of their children; and that the 
gods would punish them if they dragged her from the 
altar. But Tryphaena was merciless and unmoved; she 
gave her own orders to the soldiers, and Cleopatra was 
killed as she clung with her arms to the statue of the 
goddess. This cruelty, however, was soon overtaken 
by punishment: in the next battle Cyzicenus was the 
conqueror, and he put Tryphaena to death, to quiet, as 
was said, the ghost of her murdered sister. 

In the third year of her reign Cleopatra Cocce gave 
the island of Cyprus to her younger son, Alexander, as 
an independent kingdom, thinking that he would be of 
more use to her there, in upholding her power against 
his brother Lathvrus, than he could be at Alexandria. 

In the last reign Eudoxus had been entrusted by 
Euergetes with a vessel and a cargo for a trading voyage 
of discovery towards India; and in this reign he was 


again sent by Cleopatra down the Red Sea to trade with 
the unknown countries in the east. How far he went 
may be doubted, but he brought back with him from the 
coast of Africa the prow of a ship ornamented with a 
horse's head, the usual figurehead of the Carthaginian 
ships. This he showed to the Alexandrian pilots, who 
knew it as belonging to one of the Phoenician ships of 
Cadiz or Gibraltar. Eudoxus justly argued that this 
prow proved that it was possible to sail round Africa 
and to reach India by sea from Alexandria. The gov- 
ernment, however, would not fit him out for a third 
voyage; but his reasons were strong enough to lead 
many to join him, and others to help him with money, 
and he thereby fitted out three vessels on this attempt 
to sail round Africa by the westward voyage. He passed 
the Pillars of Hercules, or Straits of Gibraltar, and then 
turned southward. He even reached that part of Africa 
where the coast turns eastward. Here he was stopped 
by his ships wanting repair. The only knowledge that 
he brought back for us is; that the natives of that west- 
ern coast were of nearly the same race as the Ethiopians 
on the eastern coast. He was able to sail only part of 
the way back, and he reached Mauritania with difficulty 
by land. He thence returned home, where he met with 
the fate not unusual to early travellers. His whole story 
was doubted; and the geographers at home did not 
believe that he had ever visited the countries that he 
attempted to describe. 

The people of Lower Egypt were, as we have seen, 
of several races; and, as each of the surrounding nations 


was in its turn powerful, that race of men was upper- 
most in Lower Egypt. Before the fall of Thebes the 
Kopts ruled in the Delta; when the free states of Greece 
held the first rank in the world, even before the time 
of Alexander's conquests, the Greeks of Lower Egypt 
were masters of their fellow-countrymen; and now that 
Judaea, under the bravery of the Maccabees, had gained 
among nations a rank far higher than what its size 
entitled it to, the Egyptian Jews found that they had 
in the same way gained weight in Alexandria. Cleo- 
patra had given the command of her army to two Jews, 
Chelcias and Ananias, the sons of Onias, the priest of 
Heliopolis; and hence, when the civil war broke out 
between the Jews and Samaritans, Cleopatra helped the 
Jews, and perhaps for that reason Lathyrus helped the 
Samaritans. He sent six thousand men to his friend, 
Antiochus Cyzicenus, to be led against the Jews, but 
this force was beaten by the two sons of Hyrcanus, the 
high priest. 

By this act Lathyrus must have lost the good-will 
of the Jews of Lower Egypt, and hence Cleopatra again 
ventured to choose her own partner on the throne. She 
raised a riot in Alexandria against him, in the tenth 
year of their reign, on his putting to death some of her 
friends, or more likely, as Pausanias says, by showing 
to the people some of her eunuchs covered with blood, 
who she said were wounded by him; and she forced 
him to fly from Egypt. She took from him his wife, 
Selene, whom she had before thrust upon him, and who 
had borne him two children; and she allowed him to 


withdraw to the kingdom of Cyprus, from which place 
she recalled her favourite son, Alexander, to reign with 
her in Egypt. 

During these years the building was going forward 
of the beautiful temple at the city, afterwards named 
by the Romans Contra-Latopolis, on the other side of 
the Nile from Latopolis or Esne. Little now remains 
of it but its massive portico, upheld by two rows of four 
columns each, .having the globe with outstretched wings 
carved on the overhanging eaves. The earliest names 


found among the hieroglyphics with which its walls are 
covered are those of Cleopatra Cocce and her son, Ptol- 
emy Soter, while the latest name is that of the Emperor 
Commodus. Even under Cleopatra Cocce, who was 
nearly the worst of the family, the building of these 
great temples did not cease. 

The two sons were so far puppets in the hands of 
their clever mother, that on the recall of Alexander no 
change was seen in the government beyond that of the 
names which were placed at the head of the public acts. 
The former year was called the tenth of Cleopatra and 


Ptolemy Soter, and this year was called the eleventh 
of Cleopatra and eighth of Ptolemy Alexander; as Alex- 
ander counted his years from the time when he was 
sent with the title of king to Cyprus. As he was, like 
his brother, under the guidance of his mother, he was 
like him in the hieroglyphical inscriptions called mother- 

While the kingdoms of Egypt and Syria were alike 
weakened by civil wars and by the vices of their kings, 
Judaea, as we have seen, had risen under the wise gov- 
ernment of the Maccabees to the rank of an independent 
state; and latterly Aristobulus, the eldest son of Hyr- 
canus, and afterwards Alexander Jannaeus, his second 
son, had made themselves kings. But Gaza, Ptolemai's, 
and some other cities, bravely refused to part with their 
liberty, and sent to Lathyrus, then King of Cyprus, for 
help. This was not, however, done without many mis- 
givings ; for some were wise enough to see that, if Lathy- 
rus helped them, Cleopatra would, on the other hand, 
help their king, Jannaeus; and when Lathyrus landed 
at Sicaminos with thirty thousand men, the citizens of 
Ptolemai's refused even to listen to a message from him. 

The city of Gaza then eagerly sent for the help which 
the city of Ptolemai's refused. Lathyrus drove back 
Jannaeus, and marched upon Asochis, a city of Galilee, 
where he scaled the walls on the Sabbath Day, and took 
ten thousand prisoners and a large booty. He then sat 
down before the city of Saphoris, but left it on hearing 
that Jannaeus was marching against him on the other 
side of the Jordan, at the head of a force larger than 


his own. He crossed the river in face of the Jewish 
army, and routed it with great slaughter. The Jewish 
historian adds, that between thirty and fifty thousand 
men were slain upon the field of battle, and that the 
women and children of the neighbouring villages were 
cruelly put to death. 

Cleopatra now began to fear that her son Lathyrus 
would soon make himself too powerful, if not checked 
in his career of success, and that he might be able to 
march upon Egypt. She therefore mustered her forces, 
and put them under the command of Chelcias and 
Ananias, her Jewish generals. She sent her treasure, 
her will, and the children of Alexander, to the island 
of Cos, as a place of safety, and then marched with the 
army into Palestine, having sent forward her son Alex- 
ander with the fleet. By this movement Lathyrus was 
unable to keep his ground in Coele-Syria, and he took 
the bold step of marching towards Egypt. But he was 
quickly followed by Chelcias, and his army was routed, 
though Chelcias lost his life in the battle. Cleopatra, 
after taking Ptolemais, sent part of her army to help 
that which had been led by Chelcias; and Lathyrus was 
forced to shut himself up in Gaza. Soon after this the 
campaign ended, by Lathyrus returning to Cyprus, and 
Cleopatra to Egypt. 

On this success, Cleopatra was advised to seize upon 
the throne of Jannaeus, and again to add to Egypt the 
provinces of Palestine and Coele-Syria, which had so 
long made part of the kingdom of her forefathers. She 
yielded, however, to the reasons of her general Ananias, 


for the Jews of Lower Egypt were too strong to be 
treated with slight. It was by the help of the Jews that 
Cleopatra had driven her son Lathyrus out of Egypt; 
they formed a large part of the Egyptian armies, which 
were no longer even commanded by Greeks ; and it must 
have been by these clear and unanswerable reasons that 
Ananias was able to turn the queen from the thoughts 
of this conquest, and to renew the league between Egypt 
and Judaea. 

Cleopatra, however, was still afraid that Lathyrus 
would be helped by his friend Antiochus Cyzicenus to 
conquer Egypt, and she therefore kept up the quarrel 
between the brothers by again sending troops to help 
Antiochus Grypus ; and lastly, she gave him in marriage 
her daughter Selene, whom she had before forced upon 
Lathyrus. She then sent an army against Cyprus; and 
Lathyrus was beaten and forced to fly from the island. 

In the middle of this reign died Ptolemy Apion, King 
of Cyrene. He was the half-brother of Lathyrus and 
Alexander, and, having been made King of Cyrene by 
his father Euergetes II., he had there reigned quietly 
for twenty years. Being between Egypt and Carthage, 
then called the Roman province of Africa, and having no 
army which he could lead against the Roman legions, 
he had placed himself under the guardianship of Rome; 
he had bought a truce during his lifetime, by making 
the Roman people his heirs in his will, so that on his 
death they were to have his kingdom. Cyrene had been 
part of Egypt for above two hundred years, and was 
usually governed by a younger son or brother of the 


king. But on the death of Ptolemy Apion, the Roman 
senate, who had latterly been grasping at everything 
within their reach, claimed his kingdom as their inheri- 
tance, and in the flattering language of their decree by 
which the country was enslaved, they declared Cyrene 
free. Prom that time forward it was practically a 
province of Rome. 

Ptolemy Alexander, who had been a mere tool in the 
hands of his mother, was at last tired of his gilded chains ; 
but he saw no means of throwing them off, or of gaining 
that power in the state which his birth and title, and 
the age which he had then reached, ought to have given 
him. The armv w T as in favour of his mother, and an 
unsuccessful effort would certainly have been punished 
with death; so he took perhaps the only path open to 
him: he left Egypt by stealth, and chose rather to quit 
his throne and palace than to live surrounded by the 
creatures of his mother and in daily fear for his life. 

Cleopatra might well doubt whether she could keep 
her throne against both her sons, and she therefore sent 
messengers with fair promises to Alexander, to ask him 
to return to Egypt. But he knew his mother too well 
ever again to trust himself in her hands; and while 
she was taking steps to have him put to death on his 
return, he formed a plot against her life by letters. In 
this double game Alexander had the advantage of his 
mother; her character was so well known that he needed 
not to be told of what was going on; while she perhaps 
thought that the son whom she had so long ruled as a 
child would not dare to act as a man. Alexander's plot 


was of the two the best laid, and on his reaching Egypt 
his mother was put to death. 

But Alexander did not long enjoy the fruits of his 
murder. The next year the Alexandrians rose against 
him in a fury. He was hated not so much perhaps for 
the murder of his mother as for the cruelties which he 
had been guilty of, or at least had to bear the blame of, 
while he reigned with her. His own soldiers turned 
against him, and he was forced to seek his safety by 
flying on board a vessel in the harbour, and he left Egypt 
with his wife and daughter. He was followed by a fleet 
under the command of Tyrrhus, but he reached Myrse, 
a city of Lycia, in safety; and afterwards, in crossing 
over to Cyprus, he was met by an Egyptian fleet under 
Chsereas, and killed in battle. 

Though others may have been guilty of more crimes, 
Alexander had perhaps the fewest good qualities of any 
of the family of the Lagidse. During his idle reign of 
twenty years, in which the crimes ought in fairness to 
be laid chiefly to his mother, he was wholly given up to 
the lowest and worst of pleasures, by which his mind 
and body were alike ruined. He was so bloated with 
vice and disease that he seldom walked without crutches ; 
but at his feasts he could leap from his raised couch and 
dance with naked feet upon the floor with the compan- 
ions of his vices. He was blinded by flattery, ruined 
by debauchery, and hated by the people. 

His coins are not easily known from those of the other 
kings, which also bore the name of " Ptolemy the king " 
round the eagle. Some of the coins of his mother have 


the same words round the eagle on the one side, while 
on the other is her head, with a helmet formed like the 
head of an elephant, or her head with the name of 
" Queen Cleopatra" There are other coins with the 
usual head of Jupiter, and with two eagles to point out 
the joint sovereignty of herself and son. 

Few buildings or parts of buildings mark the reign 
of Ptolemy Alexander; but his name is not wholly un- 
known among the sculptures of 
Upper Egypt. On the walls of 
the temple of Apollinopolis 
Magna he is represented as 
coin or cleopatra and making an offering to the god 
Alexander. Horus. There the Egyptian 

artist has carved a portrait of this Greek king, whom 
he perhaps had never seen, clothed in a dress which he 
never wore, and worshipping a god whom he may have 
hardly known by name. 

History has not told us who was the first wife of 
Alexander, but he left a son by her named after him- 
self Ptolemy Alexander, whom we have seen sent by his 
grandmother for safety to the island of Cos, the fortress 
of the family, and a daughter whom he carried with 
him in his flight to Lycia. His second wife was Cleo- 
patra Berenice, the daughter of his brother Lathyrus, 
by whom he had no children, and who is called in the 
hieroglyphics his queen and sister. 

On the flight of Alexander, the Alexandrians sent 
an embassy to Cyprus to bring back Soter IT., or Lathy- 
rus, as he is called; and he entered Egypt without any 



opposition. He had reigned ten years with his mother, 
and then eighteen years by himself in Cyprus; and 
during those years of banishment had shown a wisdom 
and good behaviour which must have won the esteem 
of the Alexandrians, when compared with his younger 
brother Alexander. He had held his ground against 
the fleets and armies of his mother, but either through 
weakness or good feeling had never invaded Egypt. 

His reign is remarkable for the rebellion and ruin 
of the once powerful city of Thebes. It had long been 
falling in trade and in wealth, and had lost its superi- 
ority in arms; but its temples, like so many citadels, 
its obelisks, its colossal statues, and the tombs of its 
great kings still remained, and with them the memory 
of its glory then gone by. The hieroglyphics on the walls 
still recounted to its fallen priests and nobles the prov- 
inces in Europe, Asia, and Africa which they once gov- 
erned, and the weight of gold, silver, and corn which 
these provinces sent as 
a yearly tribute. The 
paintings and sculptures 
showed the men of all 
nations and of all col- 
ours, from the Tatar of 
the north to the Negro 
of the south, who had graced the triumphs of their kings: 
and with these proud trophies before their eyes they had 
been bending under the yoke of Euergetes II. and Cleo- 
patra Cocce for about fifty years. So small a measure 
of justice has usually been given to a conquered people 




by their rulers, that their highest hopes have risen to 
nothing more than an escape from excess of tyranny. 
If life, property, female honour, national and religious 
feelings have not been constantly and wantonly out- 
raged, lesser evils have been patiently endured. Polit- 
ical servitude, heavy taxes, daily ill-treatment, and occa- 
sional cruelty the Thebans had borne for two centuries 
and a half under their Greek masters, as no less the 


lot of humanity than poverty, disease, and death. But 
under the government of Cleopatra Cocce the measure 
of their injuries overflowed, and taking advantage of 
the revolutions in Alexandria, a large part of Upper 
Egypt rose in rebellion. 

We can therefore hardly wonder that when Lathyrus 
landed in Egypt, and tried to recall the troubled cities to 
quiet government and good order, Thebes should have 
refused to obey. The spirit of the warriors who followed 
Ramses to the shores of the Black Sea was not quite 


dead. For three years the brave Kopts, entrenched 
within their temples, every one of which was a castle, 
withstood his armies; but the bows, the hatchets, and the 
chariots could do little against Greek arms; while the 
overthrow of the massive temple walls, and the utter ruin 
of the city, prove how slowly they yielded to greater skill 
and numbers, and mark the conqueror's distrust lest the 
temples should be again so made use of. Perhaps the 
only time before when Thebes had been stormed after 
a long siege was when it first fell under the Persians ; and 
the ruin which marked the footsteps of Cambyses had 
never been wholly repaired. But the wanton cruelty of 
the foreigners did little mischief, when compared with 
the unpitying and unforgiving distrust of the native con- 
querors. The temples of Tentyra, Apollinopolis, Latop- 
olis, and Philse show that the massive Egyptian build- 
ings, when let alone, can withstand the wear of time for 
thousands of years; but the harder hand of man works 
much faster, and the wide acres of Theban ruins prove 
alike the greatness of the city and the force with which 
it was overthrown; and this is the last time that Egyp- 
tian Thebes is met with in the pages of history. 

The traveller, whose means and leisure have allowed 
him to reach the spot, now counts the Arab villages which 
have been built within the city's bounds, and perhaps 
pitches his tent in the open space in the middle of them. 
But the ruined temples still stand to call forth his won- 
der. They have seen the whole portion of time of which 
history keeps the reckoning roll before them; they have 
seen kingdoms and nations rise and fall: Babylonians, 


Assyrians, Hebrews, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. 
They have seen the childhood of all that we call ancient; 
and they still seem likely to stand, to tell their tale to 
those who will hereafter call us ancients. After this 
rebellion, Lathyrus reigned in quiet, and was even able 
to be of use to his Greek allies; and the Athenians, in 
gratitude, set up statues of bronze to him and Berenice, 
his daughter. 

During this reign, the Romans were carrying on a 
war with Mithridates, King of Pontus, in Asia Minor; 
and Sulla, who was then at the head of the republic, 
sent Lucullus, the soldier, the scholar, and the philoso- 
pher, as ambassador to Alexandria, to ask for help 
against the enemy. The Egyptian fleet moved out of 
harbour to meet him, a pomp which the kings of Egypt 
had before kept for themselves alone. Lathyrus received 
him on shore with the greatest respect, lodged him in 
the palace, and invited him to his own table, an honour 
which no foreigner had enjoyed since the kings of Egypt 
had thrown aside the plain manners of the first Ptole- 
mies. Lucullus had brought with him the philosopher 
Antiochus of Athens, who had been the pupil of Philo, 
and they found time to enjoy the society of Dion, the 
academic philosopher, who was then teaching at Alex- 
andria; and there they might have been seen with Her- 
aclitus of Tyre, talking together about the changes 
which were creeping into the Platonic philosophy, and 
about the two newest works of Philo, which had just 
come to Alexandria. Antiochus could not read them 
without showing his anger: such sceptical opinions had 



never before been heard of in the Academy; but they 
knew the handwriting of Philo, they were certainly his. 
Selius and Tetrilius, who were there, had heard him 
teach the same opinions at Rome, whither he had fled, 
and where he was then teaching Cicero. The next day, 
the matter was again talked over with Lucullus, Heracli- 
tus, Aristus of Athens, Ariston, and Dion; and it ended 
in Antiochus writing a book, which he named Sosus, 
against those new opinions of his old master, against the 
new Academy, and in behalf of the old Academy. 

Lathyrus understood the principles of the balance of 
power and his own interest too well to help the Romans 
to crush Mithridates, and he wisely wished not to quarrel 
with either. He therefore at once made up his mind not 
to grant the fleet which Lucullus had been sent to ask 
for. It had been usual for the kings of Egypt to pay 
the expenses of the Roman ambassadors while living in 
Alexandria; and Lathyrus offered four times the usual 
allowance to Lucullus, beside eighty talents of silver. 
Lucullus, however, would take nothing beyond his ex- 
penses, and returned the gifts, which were meant as a 
civil refusal of the fleet; and, having failed in his em- 
bassy, he sailed hastily for Cyprus, leaving the wonders 
of Egypt unvisited. Lathyrus sent a fleet of honour to 
accompany him on his voyage, and gave him his portrait 
cut in an emerald. Mithridates was soon afterwards 
conquered by the Romans; and it was only by skilful 
embassies and well-timed bribes that Lathyrus was able 
to keep off the punishment which seemed to await him 
for having thus disobeyed the orders of Sulla. Egypt 


was then the only kingdom, to the west of Persia, that 

had not yet bowed its neck under the Roman yoke. 

The coins of Lathyrus are not easily or certainly 

known from those of the other Ptolemies; but those 

of his second wife bear her head on the one side, with 

the name of " Queen Selene" and on the other side the 

eagle, with the name of " King Ptolemy." He had 

before reigned ten years with his mother, and after his 

brother's death he reigned six years and a half more; 

but, as he counted the years 

that he had reigned in Cyprus, 

he died in the thirty-seventh 

year of his reign. He left a 

com of ptoli daughter named Berenice, and 

and selene. ^ wQ na t ura j sons? eaeh named 

Ptolemy, one of whom reigned in Cyprus, and the other, 
nicknamed Auletes, the piper, afterwards gained the 
throne of Egypt. 

On the death of Lathyrus, or Ptolemy Soter H., 
his daughter Cleopatra Berenice, the widow of Ptolemy 
Alexander, mounted the throne of Egypt in b. c. 80; but 
it was also claimed by her stepson, the young Alexander, 
who was then living in Rome. Alexander had been sent 
to the island of Cos, as a place of safety, when his grand- 
mother Cleopatra Cocce followed her army into Coele- 
Syria. But, as the Egyptians had lost the command of 
the sea, the royal treasure in Cos was no longer out of 
danger, and the island was soon afterwards taken by 
Mithridates, King of Pontus, who had conquered Asia 
Minor. Among the treasures in that island the Alex- 


andrians lost one of the sacred relics of the kingdom, 
the chlamys or war-cloak which had belonged to Alex- 
ander the Great, and which they had kept with religious 
care as the safeguard of the empire. It then fell into 
the hands of Mithridates, and on his overthrow it be- 
came the prize of Pompey, who wore it in his triumph 
at the end of the Mithridatic war. With this chlamys, 
as had always been foretold by the believers in wonders, 
Egypt lost its rank among nations, and the command 
of the world passed to the Romans, who now possessed 
this time-worn symbol of sovereignty. 

Alexander also at that time fell into the hands of 
Mithridates; but he afterwards escaped, and reached 
the army of Sulla, under whose care he lived for some 
time in Rome. The Alexandrian prince hoped to gain 
the throne of his father by means of the friendship of 
one who could make and unmake kings at his pleasure; 
and Sulla might have thought that the wealth of Egypt 
would be at his command by means of his young friend. 
To these reasons Alexander added the bribe which was 
then becoming common with the princes who held their 
thrones by the help of Rome, he made a will, in which 
he named the Roman people as his heirs; and the senate 
then took care that the kingdom of Egypt should be a 
part of the wealth which was afterwards to be theirs 
by inheritance. After Berenice, his stepmother, had 
been queen about six months, they sent him to Alex- 
andria, with orders that he should be received as king; 
and, to soften the harshness of this command, he was 
told to marry Berenice, and reign jointly with her. 


The orders of Sulla, the Roman dictator, were of 
course obeyed; and the young Alexander landed at 
Alexandria, as King of Egypt and the friend of Rome. 
He married Berenice; and on the nineteenth day of his 
reign, with a cruelty unfortunately too common in this 
history, he put her to death. The marriage had been 
forced upon him by the Romans, who ordered all the 
political affairs of the kingdom; but, as they took no 
part in the civil or criminal affairs, he seems to have 
been at liberty to murder his wife. But Alexander was 
hated by the people as a king thrust upon them by for- 
eign arms; and Berenice, whatever they might have 
before thought of her, was regretted as the queen of 
their choice. Hence his crime met with its reward. His 
own guards immediately rose upon him; they dragged 
him from the palace to the gymnasium, and there put 
him to death. 

Though the Romans had already seized the smaller 
kingdom of Cyrene under the will of Ptolemy Apion, 
they could not agree among themselves upon the whole- 
sale robbery of taking Egypt under the will which Alex- 
ander had made in their favour. They seized, however, 
a paltry sum of money which he had left at Tyre as a 
place of safety; and it was a matter of debate for many 
years afterwards in Rome, whether they should not claim 
the kingdom of Egypt. But the nobles of Rome, who 
sold their patronage to kings for sums equal to the rev- 
enues of provinces, would have lost much by handing 
the kingdom over to the senate. Hence the Egyptian 
monarchy was left standing for two reigns longer. 


On the death of Ptolemy Alexander, the Alexandrians 
might easily have changed their weak and wicked rulers, 
and formed a government for themselves, if they had 
known how. The legitimate male line of the Ptolemies 
came to an end on the death of the young Alexander II. 
The two natural sons of Soter II. were then the next in 
succession; and, as there was no other claimant, the crown 
fell to the elder. He was young, perhaps even a minor 
under the age of fourteen. His claims had been wholly 
overlooked at the death of his father; for though by 
the Egyptian law every son was held to be equally legit- 
imate, it was not so by the Macedonian law. He took 
the name of Neus Dionysus, or the young Osiris, as we 
find it written in the hieroglyphics, though he is usually 
called Auletes, the piper; a name afterwards given him 
because he was more proud of his skill in playing on the 
flute than of his very slender knowledge of the art of 

It was in this reign that the historian Diodorus 
Siculus travelled in Egypt, and wrote his account of the 
manners and religion of the people. What he tells us 
of the early Egyptian history is of little value when com- 
pared with the history by Manetho, who was a native 
of the country and could read the hieroglyphic records, 
or even with that by Herodotus; but nevertheless he 
deserves great praise, and our warmest thanks, for being 
nearly the first Greek writer when Egyptian learning 
could no longer be thought valuable; when the religion, 
though looked down upon, might at any rate be studied 
with ease— for being nearly the first writer who thought 


the manners of this ancient people, after they had almost 
passed off the page of history, worth the notice of a 

Diodorus never quotes Manetho, but follows Herod- 
otus in making one great hero for the chief actions of 
antiquity, whom he calls Sesoosis or Sesonchosis. To 
him he assigns every great work of which the author 
was unknown, the canals in the Delta, the statue of 
Amenhothes III., the obelisks of Ramses II., the distant 
navigation under Necho, the mounds and trenches dug 
against Assyrian and Persian invasion, and even the 
great ship of Ptolemy Philopator; and not knowing that 
Southern Arabia and even Ethiopia had by the Alex- 
andrians been sometimes called India, he says that this 
hero conquered even India beyond the Ganges. On the 
other hand, the fabulous conquest of the great serpent, 
the enemy of the human race, which we see sculptured 
on the sarcophagus of Oimenepthah, he describes as an 
historic fact of the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus. He 
tells us how this huge beast, forty-five feet long, was 
beaten down by troops of archers, slingers, and cavalry, 
and brought alive in a net to Alexandria, where Eve's 
old enemy was shown in a cage for the amusement of the 
curious citizens. 

Memphis was then a great city; in its crowded 
streets, its palaces and temples, it was second only to 
Alexandria. A little to the west stood the pyramids, 
which were thought one of the seven wonders of the 
world. Their broad bases, sloping sides, and solid ma- 
sonry had withstood the weather for ages; and their 


huge unwieldy stones were a less easy quarry for after 
builders than the live rock when nearer to the river's 
side. The priests of Memphis knew the names of the 
kings who, one after the other, had built a new portico 
to their great temple of Phtah; but as to when or by 
whom the pyramids were built, they had perhaps less 
knowledge than the present day historian. The modern 
Egyptologist, with his patient investigation, assigns the 
largest of these three pyramids to Khufui or Kheops, a 
famous ruler of the fourth dynasty, and the others were 
erected by his immediate successors. The temple of 
Phtah, and every other building of Memphis, is now 
gone, and near the spot stands the great city of Cairo, 
whose mosques and minarets have been quarried of its 
ruins, but the pyramids still stand, after fifty-six cen- 
turies of broken and changing history, unbroken and 
unchanged. They have outlived any portion of time that 
their builders could have dreamed of, but their worn 
surface no longer declares to us their builders' names 
and history. Their sloping sides, formed to withstand 
attacks, have not saved the inscriptions which they once 
held; and the builders, in thus overlooking the reed 
which was growing in their marshes, the papyrus, to 
which the great minds of Greece afterwards trusted their 
undying names, have only taught us how much safer it 
would have been, in their wish to be thought of and 
talked of in after ages, to have leaned upon the poet and 

The beautiful temples of Dendera and Latopolis, 
which were raised by the untiring industry of ages and 


finished under the Roman emperors, were begun about 
this reign. Though some of the temples of Lower Egypt 
had fallen into decay; and though the throne was then 
tottering to its fall, the priests in Upper Egypt were still 
building for immortality. The religion of the Kopts was 
still flourishing. 

The Egyptian's opinion of the creation was the 
growth of his own river's bank. The thoughtful man, 
who saw the Nile every year lay a body of solid manure 
upon his field, was able to measure against the walls 
of the old temples that the ground was slowly but 
certainly rising. An increase of the earth was being 
brought about by the river. Hence he readily believed 
that the world itself had of old been formed out of water, 
and by means of water. The philosophers were nearly 
of the same opinion. They held that matter was itself 
eternal, like the other gods, and that our world, in the 
beginning, before it took any shape upon itself, was like 
thin mud, or a mass of water containing all things that 
were afterwards to be brought forth out of it. When 
the water had by its divine will separated itself from the 
earth, then the great Ra, the sun, sent down his quick- 
ening heat, and plants and animals came forth out of 
the wet land, as the insects are spawned out of the fields, 
before the eyes of the husbandman, every autumn after 
the Nile's overflow has retreated. The crafty priests 
of the Nile declared that they had themselves visited 
and dwelt in the caverns beneath the river, where these 
treasures, while yet unshaped, were kept in store and 
waiting to come into being. And on the days sacred to 



the Nile, boys, the children of priestly families, were 
every year dedicated to the blue river-god that they 
might spend their youth in monastic retirement, and 


as it was said in these caverns beneath his waves. These 
early Egyptian myths seem to have influenced the com- 
pilers of the Hebrew Scriptures. The author of the book 
of Genesis tells us that the Hebrew God formed the earth 
and its inhabitants by dividing the land from the water, 


and then commanding them both to bring forth living 
creatures; and again one of the Psalmists says that his 
substance, while yet imperfect, was by the Creator curi- 
ously wrought in the lowest depths of the earth. The 
Hebrew writer, however, never thinks that any part of 
the creation was its own creator. But in the Egyptian 
philosophy sunshine and the river Nile are themselves 
the divine agents; and hence fire and water received 
divine honours, as the two purest of the elements; and 
every day when the temple of Serapis in Alexandria was 
opened, the singer standing on the steps of the portico 
sprinkled water over the marble floor while he held forth 
the fire to the people; and though he and most of his 
hearers were Greeks, he called upon the god in the Egyp- 
tian language. 

The inner walls of the temples glittered with gold 
and silver and amber, and sparkled with gems from 
Ethiopia and India; and the recesses were veiled with 
rich curtains. The costliness was often in striking con- 
trast with the chief inmate, much to the surprise of the 
Greek traveller, who, having leave to examine a temple, 
had entered the sacred rooms, and asked to be shown 
the image of the god for whose sake it was built. One 
of the priests in waiting then approached with a solemn 
look, chanting a hymn, and pulling aside the veil al- 
lowed him to peep in at a snake, a crocodile, or a cat, 
or some other beast, fitter to inhabit a bog or cavern 
than to lie on a purple cushion in a stately palace. The 
funerals of the sacred animals were celebrated with great 
pomp, particularly that of the bull Apis; and at a cost, 


in one case, of one hundred talents, or eighty-five thou- 
sand dollars, which was double what Ptolemy Soter, in 
his wish to please his new subjects, spent upon the Apis 
of his day. After the funeral the priests looked for a 
calf with the right spots, and when they had found one 
they fattened it for forty days, and brought it to Mem- 
phis in a boat under a golden awning, and lodged it safely 
in the temple. The religious feelings of the Egyptians 
were much warmer and stronger than those of the 
Greeks or Romans; they have often been accused of 



eating one another, but never of eating a sacred animal. 
Once a year the people of Memphis celebrated the birth- 
day of Apis with great pomp and expense, and one of the 
chief ceremonies on the occasion was the throwing a 
golden dish into the Nile. During the week that these 
rejoicings lasted, while the sacred river was appeased 
by gifts, the crocodile was thought to lose its fierceness, 
its teeth were harmless, and it never attempted to bite; 
and it was not till six o'clock on the eighth day that this 
animal again became an object of fear to those whose 
occupations brought them to the banks of the Nile. Once 
a year also the statues of the gods were removed from 


their pedestals and placed in barges, and thus carried 
in solemn procession along the Nile, and only brought 
back to the temples after some days. It was supposed 
that the gods were passing these days on a visit to the 
righteous Ethiopians. 

The cat was at all times one of the animals held 
most sacred by the Egyptians. In the earliest and latest 
times we find the statues of their goddesses with cats' 
heads. The cats of Alexandria were looked upon as so 
many images of Neith or the Minerva of Sais, a goddess 
worshipped both by Greeks and Egyptians; and it passed 
into a proverb with the Greeks, when they spoke of any 
two things being unlike, to say that they were as much 
like one another as a cat was to Minerva. It is to Alex- 
andria also that we trace the story of a cat turned into 
a lady to please a prince who had fallen in love with it, 
The lady, however, when dressed in her bridal robes, 
could not help scampering about the room after a mouse 
seen upon the floor; and when Plutarch was in Egypt 
it had already become a proverb, that any one in too 
much finery was as awkward as a cat in a crocus-col- 
oured robe. 

So deeply rooted in the minds of the Egyptians was 
the worship of these animals that, when a Roman soldier 
had killed a cat unawares, though the Romans were 
masters of the country, the people rose against him in 
a fury. In vain the king sent a message to quiet the 
mob, to let them know that the cat was killed by accident; 
and, though the fear of Rome would most likely have 
saved a Roman soldier unharmed whatever other crime 


he might have been guilty of, in this case nothing would 
quiet the people but his death, and he was killed before 
the eyes of Diodorus, the historian. One nation rises 
above another not so much from its greater strength or 
skill in arms as from its higher aim and stronger wish 
for power. The Egyptians, we see, had not lost their 
courage, and when the occasion called them out they 
showed a fearlessness not unworthy of their Theban 
forefathers; on seeing a dead cat in the streets they 
rose against the king's orders and the power of Rome; 


had they thought their own freedom or their country's 
greatness as much worth fighting for, they could perhaps 
have gained them. But the Egyptians had no civil laws 
or rights that they cared about; they had nothing left 
that they valued but their religion, and this the Romans 
took good care not to meddle with. Had the Romans 
made war upon the priests and temples, as the Persians 
had done, they would perhaps in the same way have 
been driven out of Egypt: but they never shocked the 
religious feelings of the people, and even after Egypt 
had become a Roman province, when the beautiful tem- 
ples of Esne, Dendera, and other cities, were dedicated 
in the names of the Roman emperors, they seldom copied 


the example of Philometor, and put Greek, much less 
Roman, writing on the portico, but continued to let the 
walls be covered with hieroglyphical inscriptions. 

The Egyptians, when rich enough to pay for it, still 
had the bodies of their friends embalmed at their death, 
and made into mummies; though the priests, to save 
part of the cost, often put the mummy of a man just 
dead into a mummy-case which had been made and used 
in the reign of a Thutmosis or an Amenhothes. They 
thought that every man at his death took upon himself 
the character of Osiris, that the nurses who laid out the 
dead body represented the goddesses Isis and Nepthys, 
while the man who made the mummy was supposed to 
be the god Anubis. When the embalming was finished, 
it was part of the funeral to bring the dead man to trial 
for what he had done when living, and thus to determine 
whether he was entitled to an honourable burial. The 
mummy was ferried across the lake belonging to the 
temple, and taken before the judge Osiris. A pair of 
scales was brought forth by the dog-headed Anubis and 
the hawk-headed Horus; and with this they weighed 
the past life of the deceased. The judge, with the advice 
of a jury of forty-two, then pronounced the solemn ver- 
dict, which was written down by the ibis-headed Thot. 
But human nature is the same in all ages and in all 
countries, and, whatever might have been the past life 
of the dead, the judge, not to hurt the feelings of the 
friends, always declared that he was " a righteous and 
a good man: " and, notwithstanding the show of truth 
in the trial, it passed into a proverb to say of a wicked 



man, that he was too bad to be praised even at his 
funeral. This custom of embalming was thought right 
by all; but from examining the mummies that have come 
down to us, it would seem to have been very much con- 
fined to the priestly families, and seldom used in the 
case of children. The mummies, however, were highly 
valued by the survivors of the family, and when from 
poverty any man w T as driven to borrow money, the mum- 


mies were thought good security by the lender, and 
taken as such for the loan. The mummy-cases indeed 
could be sold for a large sum, as when made of wood 
they were covered with painting, and sometimes in part 
gilt, and often three in number, one enclosing the other. 
The stone mummy-cases were yet more valuable, as they 
were either of white alabaster or hard black basalt, 
beautifully polished, in either case carved with hiero- 
glyphics, and modelled to the shape of the body like 
the inner wooden cases. 


It is interesting to note here that the pigment known 
to modern art by the name of mummy is, in many cases, 
actually prepared from the bituminous substances pre- 
served within the wrappings of the ancient mummies. 
The grinding up of mummies imported from Thebes or 
Memphis for the purpose of enabling the twentieth cen- 
tury painter to paint the golden tresses of contemporary 
belles is of course not very extensively carried on, for 
one mummy will make several thousand tubes of paint, 
but the practice exists, and of late has been protested 
against both in England and Prance. 

Though the old laws of Egypt must very much have 
fallen into disuse during the reigns of the latter Ptol- 
emies, they had at least been left unchanged; and they 
teach us that the shadow of freedom may be seen, as 
in Rome under the Caesars, and in Florence under the 
Medici, long after the substance has been lost. In quar- 
rels between man and man, the thirty judges, from the 
cities of Thebes, Memphis, and Heliopolis, were still 
guided by the eight books of the law. The king, the 
priests, and the soldiers were the only landholders 
in the country, while the herdsmen, husbandmen, and 
handicraftsmen were thought of lower caste. Though 
the armies of Egypt were for the most part filled with 
Greek mercenaries, and the landholders of the order of 
soldiers could then have had as little to do with arms 
as knights and esquires have in our days, yet they still 
boasted of the wisdom of their laws, by which arms were 
only to be trusted to men who had a stake in the country 
worth fighting for. The old manners had long since 



passed away. The priests alone obeyed the old mar- 
riage law, that a man should have only one wife. Other 
men, when rich enough, married several. All children 
were held equally legitimate, whatever woman was the 

It is to these latter reigns of the Ptolemies, when high 
feeling was sadly wanting in all classes of society, when 
literature and art were alike in a very low state, that 
we may place the rise of caricature in Egypt. We find 



drawings made on papyrus to scoff at what the nation 
used to hold sacred. The sculptures on the walls of the 
temples are copied in little ; and cats, dogs, and monkeys 
are there placed in the attitudes of the gods and kings 
of old. In one picture we have the mice attacking a 
castle defended by the cats, copied from a battle-scene 
of Ramses II. fighting against the Ethiopians. In an- 
other the king on his throne as a dog, with a second dog 
behind him as a fan-bearer, is receiving the sacred offer- 
ings from a cat. In a third the king and queen are seen 


playing at chess or checkers in the form of a lion playing 
with a unicorn or horned ass. 

We may form some opinion of the wealth of Egypt 
in its more prosperous times when we learn from Cicero 
that in this reign, when the Romans had good means 
of knowing, the revenues of the country amounted to 
twelve thousand five hundred talents, or ten million 
dollars; just one-half of which was paid by the port of 
Alexandria. This was at a time when the foreign trade 
had, through the faults of the government, sunk down 
to its lowest ebb; when not more than twenty ships 
sailed each year from the Red Sea to India; when the 
free population of the kingdom had so far fallen off that 
it was not more than three millions, which was only half 
of what it had been in the reign of Ptolemy Soter, 
though Alexandria alone still held three hundred thou- 
sand persons. 

But, though much of the trade of the country was 
lost, though many of the royal works had ceased, though 
the manufacture of the finer linen had left the country, 
the digging in the gold mines, the favourite source of 
wealth to a despot, never ceased. Night and day in the 
mines near the Golden Berenice did slaves, criminals, 
and prisoners of war work without pause, chained to- 
gether in gangs, and guarded by soldiers, who were care- 
fully chosen for their not being able to speak the lan- 
guage of these unhappy workmen. The rock which held 
the gold was broken up into small pieces; when hard it 
was first made brittle in the fire; the broken stone was 
then washed to separate the waste from the heavier 



grains which held the gold; and, lastly, the valuable 
parts when separated were kept heated in a furnace for 
five days, at the end of which time the pure gold was 
found melted into a button at the bottom. But the mines 
were nearly worn out; and the value of the gold was a 
very small part of the thirty-five million dollars which 
they are said to have yielded every year in the reign 
of Ramses II. 

As Auletes felt himself hardly safe upon the throne, 
his first wish was to get himself acknowledged as king 
by the Roman senate. For this end he sent to Rome a 
large sum of money to buy the votes of the senators, and 
he borrowed a further sum of Rabirius Posthumus, one 
of the richest farmers of the Roman taxes, which he 
spent on the same object. But though the Romans never 
tried to turn him out of his kingdom, he did not get the 
wished-for decree before he went to Rome in the twenty- 
fourth year of his reign. But we know nothing of the 
first years of his reign. A nation must be in a very 
demoralised state when its history disproves the saying, 
that the people are happy while their annals are short. 
There was more virtue and happiness, and perhaps even 
less bloodshed, with the stir of mind while Ptolemy Soter 
was at war with Antigonus than during this dull, un- 
warlike, and vicious time. The king gave himself up to 
his natural bent for pleasure and debauchery. At times 
when virtue is uncopied and unrewarded it is usually 
praised and let alone; but in this reign sobriety was a 
crime in the eyes of the king, a quiet behaviour was 
thought a reproach against his irregularities. The 


Platonic philosopher Demetrius was in danger of being 
put to death because it was told to the king that he 
never drank wine, and had been seen at the feast of 
Bacchus in his usual dress, while every other man was 
in the dress of a woman. But the philosopher was 
allowed to disprove the charge of sobriety, or at least 
to make amends for his fault; and, on the king sending 
for him the next day, he made himself drunk publicly 
in the sight of all the court, and danced with cymbals 
in a loose dress of Tarentine gauze. But so few are the 
deeds worth mentioning in the falling state that we are 
pleased even to be told that, in the one hundred and sev- 
enty-eighth Olympiad, Strato of Alexandria conquered 
in the Olympic games and was crowned in the same day 
for wrestling, and for pancratium, or wrestling and box- 
ing joined, these sports being considered among the most 
honourable in which athletes could contend. 

In the thirteenth year of this reign (b. c. 68), when 
the war against the pirates called for the whole naval 
force of Rome, Pompey sent a fleet under Lentulus 
Marcellinus to clear the coast and creeks of Egypt from 
these robbers. The Egyptian government was too weak 
to guard its own trade; and Lentulus in his consulship 
put the Ptolemaic eagle and thunderbolt on his coins, 
to show that he had exercised an act of sovereignty. 
Three years later, we again meet with the eagle and 
thunderbolt on the consular coins of Aurelius Cotta; 
and we learn from Cicero that in that year it was found 
necessary to send a fleet to Alexandria to enforce the 
orders of the senate. 


We next find the Roman senate debating whether 
they should not seize the kingdom as their inheritance 
under the will of Ptolemy Alexander II., but, moved 
by the bribes of Auletes, and perhaps by other reasons 
which we are not told, they forbore to grasp the prize. 
In this difficulty Auletes was helped by the great Pom- 
pey, to whom he had sent an embassy with a golden 
crown worth four thousand pieces of gold, which met 
him at Damascus on his Syrian campaign. He then 
formed a secret treaty with Mithridates, King of Pontus, 
who was engaged in warfare with the Romans, their 
common enemy. Auletes was now a widower with six 
young children, and Mithridates had two daughters; 
and accordingly it was agreed that one daughter should 
be married to Auletes, and the other to his brother, the 
King of Cyprus. But the ruin and death of Mithridates 
broke off the marriages; and Auletes was able to conceal 
from the Romans that he had ever formed an alliance 
with their enemy. 

In the year which was made famous by the consulship 
of Cicero, Jerusalem was taken by the Roman army 
under Pompey; and Judaea, which had enjoyed a short- 
lived freedom of less than one hundred years under the 
Maccabees, was then put under a Roman governor. The 
fortifications of the temple were destroyed. This was 
felt by the Jews of Lower Egypt as a heavy blow, and 
from this time their sufferings in that country began. 
While their brethren h&d been lords of Judaea, they had 
held up their heads with the Greeks in Alexandria, but 
upon the fall of Jerusalem they sunk down to the rank 


of the Egyptians. They thought worse of themselves, 
and they were thought worse of by others. The Egyptian 
Jews were very closely allied to the people of the Delta. 
Though they had been again and again warned by their 
prophets not to mix with the Egyptians, they seem not 
to have listened to the warning. They were in many 
religious points less strict than their brethren in Judaea. 
The living in Egypt, the building a second temple, and 
the using a Greek Bible, were all breaches, if not of the 
law, at least of the tradition. They surrounded their 
synagogues with sacred groves, which were clearly for- 
bidden by Moses. Though they were not guilty of wor- 
shipping images, yet they did not think it wrong to have 
portraits and statues of themselves. In their dislike of 
pork, in their washings, and in other Eastern customs, 
they were like the Egyptians; and hence the Greeks, 
who thought them both barbarians, very grudgingly 
yielded to them the privileges of choosing their own 
magistrates, of having their own courts of justice, and 
the other rights of citizenship which the policy of the 
Ptolemies had granted. The Jews, on the other hand, 
in whose eyes religion was everything, saw the Greeks 
and Egyptians worshipping the same gods and the same 
sacred animals, and felt themselves as far above the 
Greeks in those branches of philosophy which arise out 
of religion as they were below them in that rank which 
is gained by success in war. Hence it was with many 
heartburnings, and not without struggles which shed 
blood in the streets of Alexandria, that they found them- 
selves, in the years which ushered in the Christian era, 


sinking down to the level of the Egyptians, and losing 
one by one the rights of Macedonian citizenship. 

During these years Auletes had been losing his 
friends and weakening his government, and, at last, 
when he refused to quarrel with the senate about the 
island of Cyprus, the Egyptians rose against him in arms, 
and he was forced to fly from Alexandria. He took ship 
for Rome, and in his way there he met Cato, who was 
at Rhodes on his voyage to Cyprus. He sent to Cato 
to let him know that he was in the city, and that he 
wished to see him. But the Roman sent word back that 
he was unwell, and that if the king wanted to speak to 
him he must come himself. This was not a time for 
Auletes to quarrel with a senator, when he was on his 
way to Rome to beg for help against his subjects; so 
he was forced to go to Cato's lodgings, who did not even 
rise from his seat when the king entered the room. But 
this treatment was not quite new to Auletes ; in his flight 
from Alexandria, in disguise and without a servant, he 
had had to eat brown bread in the cottage of a peasant; 
and he now learned how much more irksome it was to 
wait upon the pleasure of a Roman senator. Cato gave 
him the best advice; that, instead of going to Rome, 
where he would find that all the wealth of Egypt would 
be thought a bribe too small for the greediness of the 
senators whose votes he wanted, he would do better to 
return to Alexandria, and make peace with his rebellious 
subjects. Auletes, however, went on to Italy, and he 
arrived at Rome in the twenty-fourth year of his reign; 
and in the three years that he spent there in courting 


and bribing the senators, he learned the truth of Cato's 
statements, and the value of his advice. 

His brother Ptolemy, who was reigning in Cyprus, 
was not even so well treated. The Romans passed a 
law making that wealthy island a Roman province, no 
doubt upon the plea of the will of Alexander II. and 
the king's illegitimacy; and they sent Cato, rather 
against his will, to turn Ptolemy out of his kingdom. 
Ptolemy gave up the island without Cato being called 
upon to use force, and in return the Romans made him 
high priest in the temple of the Paphian Venus; but 
he soon put himself to death by poison. Canidius Cras- 
sus, who had been employed by Cato in this affair, may 
have had some fighting at sea with the Egyptians, as 
on one of his coins we see on one side a crocodile, and 
on the other the prow of a ship, as if he had beaten the 
Egyptian fleet in the mouth of the Nile. 

On the flight of their king, the rebellious Alexandrians 
set on the throne the two eldest of his daughters, Cleo- 
patra Tryphsena and Berenice, and sent an embassy, at 
the head of which was Dion, the academic philosopher, 
to plead their cause at Rome against the king. But the 
gold of Auletes had already gained the senate; and 
Cicero spoke, on his behalf, one of his great speeches, 
now unfortunately lost, in which he rebutted the charge 
that Auletes was at all to be blamed for the death of 
Alexander, whom he thought justly killed by his guards 
for the murder of his queen and kinswoman. Caesar, 
whose year of consulship was then drawing to an end, 
took his part warmly; and Auletes became in debt to 


him in the sum of seventeen million drachmae, or nearly 
two and a half million dollars, either for money lent to 
bribe the senators, or for bonds then given to Caesar in- 
stead of money. By these means Auletes got his title 
acknowledged; the door of the senate was shut against 
the Alexandrian ambassadors; and the philosopher Dion, 
the head of the embassy, was poisoned in Rome by the 
slaves of his friend Lucceius, in whose house he was 
dwelling. But nevertheless, Auletes was not able to get 
an army sent to help him against his rebellious subjects 
and his daughters; nor was Caesar able to get from the 
senate, for the employment of his proconsular year, the 
task of replacing Auletes on the throne. 

This high employment was then sought for both by 
Lentulus and by Pompey. The senate at first leaned in 
favour of the former; and he would perhaps have gained 
it if the Roman creditors of Auletes, who were already 
trembling for their money, had not bribed openly in 
favour of Pompey, as the more powerful of the two. On 
Pompey, therefore, the choice of the senate at last fell. 
Pompey then took Auletes into his house, as his friend 
and guest, and would have got orders to lead him back 
into his kingdom at the head of a Roman army had not 
the tribunes of the people, fearing any addition to Pom- 
pey 's great power, had recourse to their usual state- 
engine, the Sibylline books; and the pontifex, at their 
bidding, publicly declared that it was written in those 
sacred pages that the King of Egypt should have the 
friendship of Rome, but should not be helped with an 


But though Lentulus and Pompey were each strong 
enough to stop the other from having this high command, 
Auletes was not without hopes that some Roman general 
would be led, by the promise of money, and by the hon- 
our, to undertake his cause, though it would be against 
the laws of Rome to do so without orders from the senate. 
Cicero then took him under his protection, and carried 
him in a litter of state to his villa at Baise, and wrote 
to Lentulus, the proconsul of Cilicia and Cyprus, strongly 
urging him to snatch the glory of replacing Auletes on 
the throne, and of being the patron of the King of Egypt. 
But Lentulus seems not to have chosen to run the risk 
of so far breaking the laws of his country. 

Auletes then went, with pressing letters from Pom- 
pey, to Gabinius, the proconsul of Syria, and offered him 
the large bribe of ten thousand talents, or seven and a 
half million dollars, if he would lead the Roman army 
into Egypt, and replace him on the throne. Most of the 
officers were against this undertaking; but the letters 
of Pompey, the advice of Mark Antony, the master of 
the horse, and perhaps the greatness of the bribe, out- 
weighed those cautious opinions. 

While Auletes had been thus pleading his cause at 
Rome and with the army, Cleopatra Tryphsena, the elder 
of the two queens, had died; and, as no one of the other 
children of Auletes was old enough to be joined with 
Berenice on the throne, the Alexandrians sent to Syria 
for Seleucus, the son of Antiochus Grypus and of Selene, 
the sister of Lathyrus, to come to Egypt and marry Bere- 
nice. He was low-minded in all his pleasures and tastes, 


and got the nickname of Cybiosactes, the scullion. He 
was even said to have stolen the golden sarcophagus in 
which the body of Alexander was buried; and was so 
much disliked by his young wife that she had him 
strangled on the fifth day after their marriage. Berenice 
then married Archelaus, a son of Mithridates Eupator, 
King of Pontus; and she had reigned one year with her 
sister and two years with her husbands when the Roman 
army brought back her father, Ptolemy Auletes, into 

Gabinius, on marching, gave out as an excuse for 
quitting the province entrusted to him by the senate, 
that it was in self-defence; and that Syria was in danger 
from the Egyptian fleet commanded by Archelaus. He 
was accompanied by a Jewish army under the command 
of Antipator, sent by Hyrcanus, whom the Romans had 
just made governor of Judsea. Mark Antony was sent 
forward with the horse, and routed the Egyptian army 
near Pelusium, and then entered the city with Auletes. 
The king, in the cruelty of his revenge, wished to put 
the citizens to the sword, and was only stopped by An- 
tony's forbidding it. The Egyptian army was at this 
time in the lowest state of discipline; it was the only 
place where the sovereign was not despotic. The sol- 
diers, who prized the lawlessness of their trade even 
more than its pay, were a cause of fear only to their 
fellow-citizens. When Archelaus led them out against 
the Romans, and ordered them to throw up a trench 
around their camp, they refused to obey; they said that 
ditch-making was not work for soldiers, but that it ought 


to be done at the cost of the state. Hence, when on this 
first success Gabinius followed with the body of the 
army, he easily conquered the rest of the country and 
put to death Berenice and Archelaus. He then led back 
the army into his province of Syria, but left behind him 
a body of troops under Lucius Septimius to guard the 
throne of Auletes and to check the risings of the Alex- 

Gabinius had refused to undertake this affair, which 
was the more dangerous because against the laws of 
Rome, unless the large bribe were first paid down in 
money. He would take no promises; and Auletes, who 
in his banishment had no money at his command, had to 
borrow it of some one who would listen to his large 
promises of after payment. He found this person in 
Rabirius Posthumus, who had before lent him money, 
and who saw that it would be all lost unless Auletes 
regained the throne. Rabirius therefore lent him all 
he was worth, and borrowed the rest from his friends; 
and as soon as Auletes was on the throne, he went to 
Alexandria to claim his money and his reward. While 
Auletes still stood in need of Roman help, and saw the 
advantage of keeping faith with his foreign creditors, 
Rabirius was allowed to hold the office of royal diacetes, 
or paymaster-general, which was one of great state and 
profit, and one by which he could in time have repaid 
himself his loan. He wore a royal robe; the taxes of 
Alexandria went through his hands; he was indeed 
master of the city. But when the king felt safe on his 
throne, he sent away his troublesome creditor, who 




returned to Rome with the loss of his money, to stand 
his trial as a state criminal for having lent it. Rabirius 
had been for a time mortgagee in possession of the 
revenues of Egypt; and Auletes had felt more indebted 
for his crown to a Roman citizen than to the senate. 
But in the dealings of Rome with foreign kings, these 
evils had often before arisen, and at last been made crim- 
inal; and while Gabinius was tried for treason, de 
majestate, for leading his army out of his province, 
Rabirius was tried, under the Lex Julia de pecuniis repe- 
tundis, for lending money and taking office under Au- 

One of the last acts of Gabinius in Syria was to 
change the form of the Jewish government into an aris- 
tocracy, leaving Hyrcanus as the high priest. The Jews 
thereon began to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, that 
had been thrown down by Pompey. Among the pris- 
oners sent to Rome by Gabinius was Timagenes, the 
son of the king's banker, who probably lost his liberty 
as a hostage on Ptolemy's failure to repay the loan. But 
he was afterwards ransomed from slavery by a son of 
Sulla, and he remained at Rome teaching Greek elo- 
quence in the schools, and writing his numerous works. 

The climate of Egypt is hardly suited to Europeans, 
and perhaps at no time did the births in the Greek fam- 
ilies equal the deaths. That part of the population was 
kept up by newcomers; and latterly the Romans had 
been coming over to share in the plunder that was there 
scattered among the ruling class. For some time past 
Alexandria had been a favourite place of settlement for 



such Romans as either through their fault or their mis- 
fortune were forced to leave their homes. All who were 
banished for their crimes or who went away to escape 


from trial, all runaway slaves, all ruined debtors, found 
a place of safety in Alexandria; and by enrolling them- 
selves in the Egyptian army they joined in bonds of 


fellowship with thousands like themselves, who made it 
a point of honour to screen one another from being over- 
taken by justice or reclaimed by their masters. With 
such men as these, together with some bands of robbers 
from Syria and Cilicia, had the ranks of the Egyptian 
army latterly been recruited. These were now joined 
by a number of soldiers and officers from the army of 
Gabinius, who liked the Egyptian high pay and lawless- 
ness better than the strict discipline of the Romans. 
As, in this mixed body of men, the more regular courage 
and greater skill in war was found among the Romans, 
they were chiefly chosen as officers, and the whole had 
something of the form of a Roman army. These sol- 
diers in Alexandria were above all law and discipline. 

The laws were everywhere badly enforced, crimes 
passed unpunished, and property became unsafe. Rob- 
beries were carried on openly, and the only hope of 
recovering what was stolen was by buying it back from 
the thief. In many cases, whole villages lived upon 
plunder, and for that purpose formed themselves into 
a society, and put themselves under the orders of a chief; 
and, when any merchant or husbandman was robbed, he 
applied to this chief, who usually restored to him the 
stolen property on payment of one-fourth of its value. 

As the country fell off in wealth, power, and popu- 
lation, the schools of Alexandria fell off in learning, and 
we meet with few authors whose names can brighten 
the pages of this reign. Apollonius of Citium, indeed, 
who had studied surgery and anatomy at Alexandria 
under Zopyrus, when he returned to Cyprus, wrote a 



treatise on the joints of the body, and dedicated his work 
to Ptolemy, king of that island. The work is still re- 
maining in manuscript. 

Beside his name of Neus Dionysus, the king is in 
the hieroglyphics sometimes called Philopator and Phila- 
delphus; and in a Greek inscription on a statue at Philse 
he is called by the three names, Neus Dionysus, Philo- 
pator, Philadelphus. The coins which are usually 
thought to be his are in a worse style of art than those 
of the kings before him. He died in b. c. 51, in the 
twenty-ninth year of his reign, leaving four children, 
namely, Cleopatra, Arsinoe, and two Ptolemies. 





Pompey, Caesar, and Antony in Egypt — Cleopatra's extravagance and intrigues 
— Octavianus annexes Egypt — Retrospect. 

his will left his kingdom to Cleopatra 
and Ptolemy, his elder daughter and 
elder son, who, agreeably to the custom 
of the country, were to marry one another 
and reign with equal power. He had sent one copy 
of his will to Rome, to be lodged in the public treas- 
ury, and in it he called upon the Roman people, by 
all the gods and by the treaties by which they were 
bound, to see that it was obeyed. He had also begged 
them to undertake the guardianship of his son. The 
senate voted Pompey tutor to the young king, or 
governor of Egypt; and the Alexandrians in the third 
year of his reign sent sixty ships of war to help 



the great Pompey in his struggle against Julius Caesar 
for the chief power in Rome. But Pompey 's power was 
by that time drawing to an end, and the votes of the 
senate could give no strength to the weak: hence the 
eunuch Pothinus, who had the care of the elder Ptolemy, 
was governor of Egypt, and his first act was to declare 
his young pupil king, and to set at nought the will of 
Auletes, by which Cleopatra was joined with him on the 

Cleopatra fled into Syria, and, with a manly spirit 
which showed what she was afterwards to be, raised an 
army and marched back to the borders of Egypt, to claim 
her rights by force of arms. It was in the fourth year 
of her reign, when the Egyptian troops were moved to 
Pelusium to meet her, and the two armies were within 
a few leagues of one another, that Pompey, who had been 
the friend of Auletes when the king wanted a friend, 
landed on the shores of Egypt in distress, and almost 
alone. His army had just been beaten at Pharsalia, and 
he was flying from Caesar, and he hoped to receive from 
the son the kindness which he had shown to the father. 
But gratitude is a virtue little known in palaces, and 
Ptolemy had been cradled in princely selfishness. In 
this civil war between Pompey and Caesar, the Alex- 
andrians would have been glad to be the friends of both y 
but that was now out of the question; Pompey 's com- 
ing made it necessary for them to choose which they 
should join, and Ptolemy's council, like cowards, only 
wished to side with the strong. Pothinus the eunuch, 
Achilles the general, who was a native Egyptian, and 




Theodotus of Chios, who was the prince's tutor in rhet- 
oric, were the men by whom the fate of this great Roman 
was decided. " By putting him to death,'' said Theodo- 
tus, " you will oblige Caesar, and have nothing to fear 
from Pompey; " and he added with a smile, " Dead men 
do not bite. " So Achilles and Lucius Septimius, the head 
of the Roman troops in the Egyptian army, were sent 
down to the seaside to welcome him, to receive him as 
a friend, and to murder him. They handed him out of 
his galley into their boat, and put him to death on his 
landing. They then cut off from his lifeless trunk the 
head which had been three times crowned with laurels 
in the capitol; and in that disfigured state the young 
Ptolemy saw for the first time, and without regret, the 
face of his father's best friend. 

When Caesar, following the track of Pompey, arrived 
in the roadstead of Alexandria, all was already over. 
With deep agitation he turned away when the murderer 
brought to his ship the head of the man who had been his 
son-in-law and for long years his colleague in rule, and 
to get whom alive into his power he had come to Egypt. 
The dagger of the rash assassin precluded an answer 
to the question, how Caesar would have dealt with the 
captive Pompey; but, while the human sympathy which 
still found a place in the great soul of Caesar, side by 
side with ambition, enjoined that he should spare his 
former friend, his interest also required that he should 
annihilate Pompey otherwise than by the executioner. 
Pompey had been for twenty years the acknowledged 
ruler of Rome; a dominion so deeply rooted does not 


end with the ruler's death. The death of Pompey did not 
break up the Pompeians, but gave to them instead of an 
aged, incapable, and worn-out chief, in his sons Gnacus 
and Sextus, two leaders, both of whom were young and 
active, and the second of them of decided capacity. To 
the newly founded hereditary monarchy, hereditary pre- 
tendership attached itself at once like a parasite, and it 
was very doubtful whether by this change of persons 
Caesar did not lose more than he gained. 

Meanwhile in Egypt Caesar had now nothing further 
to do, and the Romans and Egyptians expected that he 
would immediately set sail and apply himself to the sub- 
jugation of Africa, and to the huge task of organisation 
which awaited him after the victory. But Caesar, faithful 
to his custom— wherever he found himself in the wide 
Empire— of finally regulating matters at once and in 
person, and firmly convinced that no resistance was to 
be expected either from the Roman garrison or from the 
court; being, moreover, in urgent pecuniary embarrass- 
ment, landed in Alexandria with the two amalgamated 
legions accompanying him to the number of thirty-two 
hundred men and eight hundred Celtic and German 
cavalry, took up his quarters in the royal palace, and 
proceeded to collect the necessary sums of money and to 
regulate the Egyptian succession, without allowing him- 
self to be disturbed by the saucy remark of Pothinus that 
Caesar should not for such petty matters neglect his own 
so important affairs. In his dealings with the Egyptians 
he was just and even indulgent. Although the aid which 
they had given to Pompey justified the imposing of a war 


contribution, the exhausted land was spared from this; 
and, while the arrears of the sums stipulated for in 
b. c. 59, and since then only about half paid, were re- 
mitted, there was required merely a final payment of 
ten million denarii (two million dollars) . The belligerent 
brother and sister were enjoined immediately to suspend 
hostilities, and were invited to have their dispute investi- 
gated and decided before the arbiter. They submitted; 
the royal boy was already in the palace and Cleopatra 
also presented herself there. Caesar adjudged the king- 
dom of Egypt, agreeably to the testament of Auletes, to 
the intermarried brother and sister Cleopatra and Ptolo- 
moreus Dionysus, and further gave unasked the kingdom 
of Cyprus— cancelling the earlier act of annexation— as 
the appanage of the second-born of Egypt to the younger 
children of Auletes, Arsinoe and Ptolemy the younger. 
But a storm was secretly preparing. Alexandria was 
a cosmopolitan city as well as Rome, hardly inferior to 
the Italian capital in the number of its inhabitants, far 
superior to it in stirring commercial spirit, in skill of 
handicraft, in taste for science and art: in the citizens 
there was a lively sense of their own national importance, 
and, if there was no political sentiment, there was at any 
rate a turbulent spirit, which induced them to indulge in 
their street riots regularly and heartily. We may con- 
ceive their feelings when they saw the Roman general 
ruling in the palace of the Lagids, arid their kings ac- 
cepting the award of his tribunal. Pothinus and the boy- 
king, both, as may be conceived, very dissatisfied at once 
with the peremptory requisition of all debts and with 


the intervention in the throne-dispute which could only- 
issue, as it did, in the favour of Cleopatra, sent— in order 
to pacify the Roman demands— the treasures of the 
temple and the gold plate of the king with intentional 
ostentation to be melted at the mint; with increasing 
indignation the Egyptians— who were pious even to 
superstition, and who rejoiced in the world-renowned 
magnificence of their court as if it were a possession 
of their own— beheld the bare walls of their temples and 
the wooden cups on the table of their king. The Roman 
army of occupation also, which had been essentially 
denationalised by its long abode in Egypt and the 
many intermarriages between the soldiers and Egyptian 
women, and which moreover numbered a multitude of 
the old soldiers of Pompey and runaway Italian crim- 
inals and slaves in its ranks, was indignant at Caesar, 
by whose orders it had been obliged to suspend its ac- 
tion on the Syrian frontier, and at his handful of haughty 
legionaries. The tumult even at the landing, when the 
multitude saw the Roman axes carried into the old 
palace, and the numerous instances in which his soldiers 
were assassinated in the city, had taught Caesar the 
immense danger in which he was placed with his small 
force in presence of the exasperated multitude. But 
it was difficult to return on account of the northwest 
winds prevailing at this season of the year, and the 
attempt of embarkation might easily become a signal 
for the outbreak of the insurrection; besides, it was 
not the nature of Caesar to take his departure without 
having accomplished his work. He accordingly ordered 


up at once reinforcements from Asia, and meanwhile, 
till these arrived, made a show of the utmost self-pos- 
session. Never was there greater gaiety in his camp 
than during this rest at Alexandria, and while the beau- 
tiful and clever Cleopatra was not sparing of her charms 
in general and least of all towards her judge, Caesar also 
appeared among all his victories to value most those 
won over beautiful women. It was a merry prelude to 
graver scenes. Under the leadership of Achilles and, 
as was afterwards proved, by the secret orders of the 
king and his guardian, the Roman army of occupation 
stationed in Egypt appeared unexpectedly in Alexan- 
dria, and, as soon as the citizens saw that it had come 
to attack Caesar, they made common cause with the 

With a presence of mind, which in some measure 
justifies his foolhardiness, Caesar hastily collected his 
scattered men; seized the persons of the king and his 
ministers; entrenched himself in the royal residence 
and adjoining theatre; and gave orders, as there was 
no time to place in safety the war-fleet stationed in the 
principal harbour immediately in front of the theatre, 
that it should be set on fire and that Pharos, the island 
with the light-tower commanding the harbour, should 
be occupied by means of boats. Thus at least a re- 
stricted position for defence was secured, and the way 
was kept open to procure supplies and reinforcements. 
At the same time orders were issued to the commandant 
of Asia Minor as well as to the nearest subject countries, 
the Syrians and the Nabataeans, the Cretans and the 


Rhodians, to send men and ships in all haste to Egypt. 
The insurrection, at the head of which the Princess 
Arsinoe and her confidant, the eunuch Ganymedes, had 
placed themselves, meanwhile had free course in all 
Egypt and in the greater part of the capital. In the 
streets of the latter there was daily fighting, but with- 
out success either on the part of Caesar in gaining freer 
scope and breaking through to the fresh water lake of 
Mariut which lay behind the town, where he could have 
provided himself with water and forage; or on the part 
of the Alexandrians in acquiring superiority in besieg- 
ing and depriving them of all drinking water; for, when 
the Nile canals in Caesar's part of the town had been 
spoiled by the introduction of salt water, drinkable water 
was unexpectedly found in wells dug on the beach. 

As Caesar was not to be overcome from the landward 
side, the exertions of the besiegers were directed to 
destroy his fleet and cut him off from the sea, by which 
supplies reached him. The island with the lighthouse 
and the mole by which this was connected with the main- 
land divided the harbour into a western and an eastern 
half, which were in communication with each other 
through two arch-openings in the mole. Caesar com- 
manded the island and the east harbour, while the mole 
and the west harbour were in possession of the citizens; 
and, as the Alexandrian fleet was burnt, his vessels 
sailed in and out without hindrance. The Alexandrians, 
after having vainly attempted to introduce fire-ships 
from the western into the eastern harbour, equipped 
with the remnant of their arsenal a small squadron, and 


with this blocked up the way of Caesar's vessels, when 
these were towing in a fleet of transports with a legion 
that had arrived from Asia Minor; but the excellent 
Rhodian mariners of Caesar mastered the enemy. Not 
long afterwards, however, the citizens captured the 
lighthouse-island, and from that point totally closed the 
narrow and rocky mouth of the east harbour for larger 
ships; so that Caesar's fleet was compelled to take its 
station in the open roads before the east harbour, and 
his communication with the sea hung only on a weak 
thread. Caesar's fleet, attacked in that roadstead repeat- 
edly by the superior naval force of the enemy, could 
neither shun the unequal strife, since the loss of the 
lighthouse-island closed the inner harbour against it, 
nor yet withdraw, for the loss of the roadstead would 
have debarred Caesar wholly from the sea. Though the 
brave legionaries, supported by the dexterity of the 
Rhodian sailors, had always hitherto decided these con- 
flicts in favour of the Romans, the Alexandrians renewed 
and augmented their naval armaments with unwearied 
perseverance; the besieged had to fight as often as it 
pleased the besiegers, and, if the former should be on 
a signal occasion vanquished, Caesar would be totally 
hemmed in and probably lost. 

It was absolutely necessary to make an attempt to 
recover the lighthouse-island. The double attack, which 
was made by boats from the side of the harbour and by 
the war-vessels from the seaboard, in reality brought 
not only the island but also the lower part of the mole 
into his power; it was only at the second arch-opening 


of the mole that Caesar ordered the attack to be stopped, 
and the mole to be there closed towards the city by a 
transverse wall. But while a violent conflict arose here 
round the entrenchers, the Roman troops left the lower 
part of the mole adjoining the island bare of defenders; 
a division of Egyptians landed there unexpectedly, at- 
tacked in the rear the Roman soldiers and sailors 
crowded together on the mole of the transverse wall, 
and drove the whole mass in wild confusion into the sea. 
A part were taken on board by the Roman ships; but 
more were drowned. Some four hundred soldiers and a 
still greater number of men belonging to the fleet were 
sacrificed on this day; the general himself, who had 
shared the fate of his men, had been obliged to seek 
refuge in his ship, and, when this sank from having been 
overloaded with men, he had to save himself by swim- 
ming to another. But, severe as was the loss suffered, 
it was amply compensated by the recovery of the light- 
house-island, which along with the mole as far as the 
first arch-opening remained in the hands of Caesar. 

At length the longed-for relief arrived, Mithridates 
of Pergamus, an able warrior of the school of Mithri- 
dates Eupator, whose natural son he claimed to be, 
brought up by land from Syria a motley army,— the 
Ituraeans of the prince of the Libanus, the Bedouins of 
Jamblichus, son of Sampsiceramus, the Jews under the 
minister Antipater, and the contingents generally of the 
petty chiefs and communities of Cilicia and Syria. Prom 
Pelusium, which Mithridates had the fortune to occupy 
on the day of his arrival, he took the great road towards 


Memphis, with the view of avoiding the intersected 
ground of the Delta and crossing the Nile before its 
division; during which movement his troops received 
manifold support from the Jewish peasants who were 
settled in this part of Egypt. The Egyptians, with the 
young king Ptolemy now at their head, whom Caesar had 
released to his people in the vain hope of allaying the 
insurrection by his means, despatched an army to the 
Nile, to detain Mithridates on its farther bank. The 
army fell in with the enemy even beyond Memphis at 
the so-called Jews' camp, between Onion and Heliopolis; 
nevertheless Mithridates, trained in the Roman fashion 
of manoeuvring and encamping, amidst successful con- 
flicts gained the opposite bank at Memphis. Caesar, on 
the other hand, as soon as he obtained news of the arrival 
of the relieving army, conveyed a part of his troops in 
ships to the end of the lake of Morea to the west of 
Alexandria, and marched round this lake and down the 
Nile to meet Mithridates advancing up the river. 

The junction took place without the enemy attempting 
to hinder it. Caesar then marched into the Delta, whither 
the king had retreated, overthrew, notwithstanding the 
deeply cut canal in their front, the Egyptian vanguard 
at the first onset, and immediately stormed the Egyptian 
camp itself. It lay at the foot of a rising ground be- 
tween the Nile— from which only a narrow path sep- 
arated it— and marshes difficult of access. Caesar caused 
the camp to "be assailed simultaneously from the front 
and from the flank on the path along the Nile; and during 
this assault ordered a third detachment to ascend unseen 


the heights of the camp. The victory was complete; the 
camp was taken, and those of the Egyptians who did not 
fall beneath the sword of the enemy were drowned in 
the attempt to escape to the fleet on the Nile. With one 
of the boats, which sank overladen with men, the young 
king also disappeared in the waters of his native stream. 
Immediately after the battle Caesar advanced at the 
head of his cavalry from the land side straight into the 
portion of the capital occupied by the Egyptians. In 
mourning attire, with the images of their gods in their 
hands, the enemy received him and sued for peace; and 
his troops, when they saw him return as victor from the 
side opposite to that by which he had set forth, welcomed 
him with boundless joy. The fate of the town, which 
had ventured to thwart the plans of the master of the 
world and had brought him within a hair's-breadth of 
destruction, lay in Caesar's hands; but he was too much 
of a ruler to be sensitive, and dealt with the Alexandrians 
as with the Massiliots. Caesar— pointing to their city 
severely devastated and deprived of its granaries, of its 
world-renowned library, and of other important public 
buildings on the occasion of the burning of the fleet— 
exhorted the inhabitants in future earnestly to cultivate 
the arts of peace alone, and to heal the wounds inflicted 
on themselves; for the rest, he contented himself with 
granting to the Jews settled in Alexandria the same 
rights which the Greek population of the city enjoyed, 
and with placing in Alexandria instead of the previous 
"Roman army of occupation— which nominally at least 
obeyed the kings of Egypt, a Roman garrison— two of 


the legions besieged there, and a third which afterwards 
arrived from Syria— under a commander nominated by 
himself. For this position of trust a man was purposely 
selected whose birth made it impossible for him to abuse 
it— Rufio, an able soldier, but the son of a freed man. 
Cleopatra and her younger brother Ptolemy obtained 
the sovereignty of Egypt under the supremacy of Rome ; 
the Princess Arsinoe was carried off to Italy, that she 
might not serve once more as a pretext for insurrections 
to the Egyptians, who were after the Oriental fashion 
quite as much devoted to their dynasty as they were 
indifferent towards the individual dynasts; and Cyprus 
became again a part of the Roman province of Cilicia. 

Caesar's love for Cleopatra, who had just borne him a 
son named Caesarion, was not so strong as his ambition; 
and after having been above a year in Egypt he left her 
to govern the kingdom in her own name, but on his 
behalf; and sailed for Italy, taking with him the sixth 
legion. While engaged in this warfare in Alexandria, 
Caesar had been appointed dictator in Rome, where his 
power was exercised by Mark Antony, his master of the 
horse; and for above six months he had not written one 
letter home, as though ashamed to write about the foolish 
difficulty he had entangled himself in, until he had got 
out of it. 

On reaching Rome Caesar amused the people and him- 
self with a grand triumphal show, in which, among the 
other prisoners of war, the Princess Arsinoe followed his 
car in chains; and, among the works of art and nature 
which were got together to prove to the gazing crowd 


the greatness of his conquests, was that remarkable 
African animal the camelopard, then for the first time 
seen in Rome. In one chariot was a statue of the Nile 
god; and in another the Pharos lighthouse on fire, with 
painted flames. Nor was this the last of Caesar's tri- 
umphs, for soon afterwards Cleopatra, and her brother 
Ptolemy, then twelve years old, who was called her hus- 
band, came to Rome as his guests, and dwelt for some 
time with him in his house. 

The history of Egypt, at this time, is almost lost in 
that of Rome. Within five years of Caesar's landing in 
Alexandria, and finding that by the death of Pompey he 
was master of the world, he paid his own life as the 
forfeit for crushing his country's liberty. The Queen of 
Egypt, with her infant son Caesarion about four years 
old, was then in Rome, living with Caesar in his villa on 
the farther side of the Tiber. On Caesar's death her first 
wish was to get the child acknowledged by the Roman 
senate as her colleague on the throne of Egypt, and as a 
friend of the Roman people. With this view she applied 
to Cicero for help, making him an offer of some books 
or works of art ; but he was offended at her haughtiness 
and refused her gifts. Besides, she was more likely to 
thwart than to help the cause for which he was strug- 
gling. He was alarmed at hearing that she was soon to 
give birth to another child. He did not want any more 
Caesars. He hoped she would miscarry, as he wished she 
had before miscarried. So he bluntly refused to under- 
take her cause. On this she thought herself unsafe in 
Rome, she fled privately, and reached Egypt in safety 


with Caesarion; but we hear of no second child by Julius. 
The Romans were now the masters of Egypt, and Cleo- 
patra could hardly hope to reign but by the help of one 
of the great generals who were struggling for the sov- 
ereignty of the republic. Among these was the young 
Sextus Pompeius, whose large fleet made him for a time 
master of Sicily and of the sea ; and he was said to have 
been admitted by the Queen of Egypt as a lover. But he 
was able to be of but little use to her in return for her 
favours, as his fleet was soon defeated by Octavianus. 

Caesar had left behind him, in the neighbourhood of 
Alexandria, a large body of Roman troops, in the pay and 
nominally under the orders of Cleopatra, but in reality 
to keep Egypt in obedience. There they lived as if above 
all Egyptian law or Roman discipline, indulging in the 
vices of that luxurious capital. When some of them in 
a riot, in the year 45 b. c, killed two sons of Bibulus the 
consul, Cleopatra was either afraid or unable to punish 
the murderers; the most she could do was to get them 
sent in chains into Syria to the grieving father, who with 
true greatness of mind sent them back to the Egyptian 
legions, saying that it was for the senate to punish them, 
not for him. 

While Ptolemy her second husband was a boy and 
could claim no share of the government, he was allowed 
to live with all the outward show of rovaltv, but as soon 
as he reached the age of fifteen, in b. c. 44, at which he 
might call himself her equal and would soon be her mas- 
ter, Cleopatra had him put to death. She had then 
reigned four years with her elder brother and four years 


with her younger brother, and from that time forward 
she reigned alone, calling her child by Caesar her col- 
league on the throne. 

At a time when vice and luxury claimed the thoughts 
of all who were not busy in the civil wars, we cannot 
hope to find the fruits of genius in Alexandria; but the 
mathematics are plants of a hardy growth, and are not 
choked so easily as poetry and history. Sosigenes was 
then the first astronomer in Egypt, and Julius Caesar 
was guided by his advice in setting right the Roman 
Calendar. He was a careful and painstaking mathemati- 
cian, and, after fixing the length of the year at three 
hundred and sixty-five days and a quarter, he three times 
changed the beginning of the year, in his doubts as to 
the day on which the equinox fell; for the astronomer 
could then only make two observations in a year with a 
view to learn the time of the equinox, by seeing when the 
sun shone in the plane of the equator. Photinus the 
mathematician wrote both on arithmetic and geometry, 
and was usually thought the author of a mathematical 
work published in the name of the queen, called the 
Canon of Cleopatra. 

Didymus was another of the writers that we hear of 
at that time. He was a man of great industry, both in 
reading and writing; but when we are told that he wrote 
three thousand five hundred volumes, or rolls, it rather 
teaches us that a great many rolls of papyrus would be 
wanted to make a modern book, than what number of 
books he wrote. These writings were mostly on verbal 
criticism, and all have long since perished except some 



notes or scholia on the Iliad and Odyssey which bear his 
name, and are still printed in some editions of Homer. 

Dioscorides, the physician of Cleopatra, has left a 
work on herbs and minerals, and on their uses in medi- 
cine; also on poisons and poisonous bites. To these he 
has added a list of prescriptions. His works have been 
mu«h read in all ages, and have only been set aside by 


the discoveries of the last few centuries. Serapion, an- 
other physician, was perhaps of this reign. He followed 
medicine rather than surgery; and, while trusting chiefly 
to his experience gained in clinical or bedside practice, 
was laughed at by the surgeons as an empiric. 

The small temple at Hermonthis, near Thebes, seems 
to have been built in this reign, and it is dedicated to 
Mandoo, or the sun, in the name of Cleopatra and Csesa- 
rion. It is unlike the older Egyptian temples in being 


much less of a fortress; for what in them is a strongly 
walled courtyard, with towers to guard the narrow door- 
way, is here a small space between two double rows of 
columns, wholly open, without walls, while the roofed 
building is the same as in the older temples. Near it is 
a small pool, seventy feet square, with stone sides, which 
was used in the funerals and other religious rites. 

The murder of Caesar did not raise the character of 
the Romans, or make them more fit for self-government. 
It was followed by the well-known civil war; and when, 
by the battle of Philippi and the death of Brutus and 
Cassius, his party was again uppermost, the Romans 
willingly bowed their necks to his adopted son Octa- 
vianus, and his friend Mark Antony. 

It is not easy to determine which side Cleopatra meant 
to take in the war between Antony and the murderers of 
Caesar; she did not openly declare herself, and she prob- 
ably waited to join that which fortune favoured. Al- 
lienus had been sent to her by Dolobella to ask for such 
troops as she could spare to help Antony, and he led a 
little army of four Roman legions out of Egypt into 
Syria; but when there he added them to the force which 
Cassius had assembled against Antony. Whether he 
acted through treachery to the queen or by her orders 
is doubtful, for Cassius felt more gratitude to Allienus 
than to Cleopatra. Serapion also, the Egyptian governor 
of Cyprus, joined what was then the stronger side, and 
sent all the ships that he had in his ports to the assistance 
of Cassius. Cleopatra herself was getting ready another 
large fleet, but since the war was over, and Brutus and 

Cleopatra before Julius Caesar 

From the painting by Gerome 



Cassius dead before it sailed, she said it was meant to 
help Octavianus and Antony. Thus, by the acts of her 
generals and her own hesitation, Cleopatra fairly laid 
herself open to the reproach of ingratitude to her late 
friend Caesar, or at least of thinking that the interests 
of his son Caesarion were opposed to those of his nephew 
Octavianus; and accordingly, as Antony was passing 
through Cilicia with his army, he sent orders to her to 
come from Egypt and meet him at Tarsus, to answer the 
charge of having helped Brutus and Cassius in the late 
military campaign. 

Dellius, the bearer of the message, showed that he 
understood the meaning of it, by beginning himself to 
pay court to her as his queen. He advised her to go, 
like Juno in the Iliad, " tricked in her best attire," and 
told her that she had nothing to fear from the kind and 
gallant Antony. On this she sailed for Cilicia laden with 
money and treasures for presents, full of trust in her 
beauty and power of pleasing. She had won the heart 
of Caesar when, though younger, she was less skilled in 
the arts of love, and she was still only twenty-five years 
old; and, carrying with her such gifts and treasures as 
became her rank, she entered the river Cydnus with the 
Egyptian fleet in a magnificent galley. The stern was 
covered with gold; the sails were of scarlet cloth: and 
the silver oars beat time to the music of flutes and harps. 
The queen, dressed like Venus, lay under an awning 
embroidered with gold, while pretty dimpled boys, like 
Cupids, stood on each side of the sofa fanning her. Her 
maidens, dressed like sea-nymphs and graces, handled 


the silken tackle and steered the vessel. As she ap- 
proached the town of Tarsus the winds wafted the per- 
fumes and the scent of the burning incense to the shores, 
which were lined with crowds who had come out to see 
her land; and Antony, who was seated on the tribunal 
waiting to receive her, found himself left alone. 

Tarsus on the river Cydnus was situated at the foot 
of the wooded slopes of Mount Taurus, and it guarded 
the great pass in that range between the Phrygian tribes 
and the Phoenician tribes. It was a city half-Greek 
and half- Asiatic, and had from the earliest days been 
famed for ship-building and commerce. Mount Taurus 
supplied it with timber, and around the mouth of its 
river, as it widens into a quiet lake, were the ancient 
dockyards which had made the ships of Tarshish pro- 
verbial with the Hebrew writers. Its merchants, en- 
riched by industry and enlightened by foreign trade, had 
ornamented their city with public buildings, and estab- 
lished a school of Greek learning. Its philosophers, how- 
ever, were more known as travelling teachers than as 
scholars. No learned men came to Tarsus; but it sent 
forth its rhetoricians in its own ships, who spread them- 
selves as teachers over the neighbouring coasts. In Rome 
there were more professors of rhetoric, oratory, and 
poetry from Tarsus than from Alexandria or Athens. 
Athenodorus Cordylion, the stoic, taught Cato; Athen- 
odorus, the son of Sandon, taught Caesar; Nestor a little 
later taught the young Marcellus; while Demetrius was 
one of the first men of learning who sailed to the distant 
island of Britain. This school, in the next generation, 


sent forth the apostle Paul, who taught Christianity 
throughout the same coasts. 

Tarsus was now to be amused by the costly follies 
and extravagances of Cleopatra. As an initial display, 
soon after landing, she invited Antony and his generals 
to a dinner, at which the whole of the dishes placed before 
them were of gold, set with precious stones, and the room 
and the twelve couches were ornamented with purple 
and gold. On his praising the splendour of the sight, as 
passing anything he had before seen, she said it was a 
trifle, and begged that he would take the whole of it as 
a gift from her. The next day he again dined with her, 
and brought a larger number of his friends and generals, 
and was of course startled to see a costliness which made 
that of the day before seem nothing; and she again gave 
him the whole of the gold upon the table, and gave to 
each of his friends the couch upon which he sat. 

These costly and delicate dinners were continued 
every day; and one evening, when Antony playfully 
blamed her wastefulness, and said that it was not possi- 
ble to fare in a more costlv manner, she told him that 
the dinner of the next dav should cost ten thousand ses- 
tertia, or three hundred thousand dollars. This he would 
not believe, and laid her a wager that she would fail in 
her promise. When the day came the dinner was as 
grand and dainty as those of the former days; but when 
Antony called upon her to count up the cost of the meats 
and wines, she said that she did not reckon them, but 
that she should herself soon eat and drink the ten thou- 
sand sestertia. She wore in her ears two pearls, the 



largest known in the world, which, like the diamonds of 
European kings, had come to her with her crown and 
kingdom, and were together valued at that large sum. 
On the servants removing the meats, they set before her 


a glass of vinegar, and she took one of these earrings 
from her ear and dropped it into the glass, and when 
dissolved drank it off. Plancus, one of the guests, who 
had been made judge of the wager, snatched the other 
from the queen's ear, and saved it from being drunk up 
like the first, and then declared that Antony had lost his 


bet. The pearl which was saved was afterwards cut in 
two and made into a pair of earrings for the statue of 
Venus in the Pantheon at Rome; and the fame of the 
wager may be said to have made the two half pearls at 
least as valuable as the two whole ones. 

The beauty, sweetness, and gaiety of this young queen, 
joined to her great powers of mind, which were all turned 
to the art of pleasing, had quite overcome Antony; he 
had sent for her as her master, but he was now her slave. 
Her playful wit was delightful; her voice was as an 
instrument of many strings; she spoke readily to every 
ambassador in his own language; and was said to be 
the only sovereign of Egypt who could understand the 
languages of all her subjects: Greek, Egyptian, Ethi- 
opic, Troglodytic, Hebrew, Arabic, and Syriac. With 
these charms, at the age of five-and-twenty, the luxurious 
Antony could deny her nothing. The first favour which 
she asked of her lover equals any cruelty that we have 
met with in this history: it was, that he would have her 
sister Arsinoe put to death. Caesar had spared her life, 
after his triumph, through love of Cleopatra; but he was 
mistaken in the heart of his mistress; she would have 
been then better pleased at Arsinoe 's death; and Antony, 
at her bidding, had her murdered in the temple of Diana, 
at Ephesus. 

Though Fulvia, the faithful wife of Antony, could 
scarcely keep together his party at Rome against the 
power of Octavianus, his colleague in the triumvirate, and 
though Labienus, with the Parthian legions, was ready 
to march into Syria against him, yet he was so entangled 


in the artful nets of Cleopatra, that she led him captive 
to Alexandria; and there the old warrior fell into every 
idle amusement, and offered up at the shrine of pleasure 
one of the greatest of sacrifices, the sacrifice of his time. 
The lovers visited each other every day, and the waste 
of their entertainments passed belief. Philotas, a phy- 
sician who was following his studies at Alexandria, told 
Plutarch's grandfather that he was once invited to see 
Antony's dinner cooked, and among other meats were 
eight wild boars roasting whole; and the cook explained 
to him that, though there were only twelve guests, yet 
as each dish had to be roasted to a single turn of the spit, 
and Antony did not know at what hour he should dine, 
it was necessary to cook at least eight dinners. But the 
most costly of the luxuries then used in Egypt were the 
scents and the ointments. Gold, silver, and jewels, as 
Pliny remarks, will pass to a man's heirs, even clothes 
will last a few months or weeks, but scents fly off and 
are lost at the first moment that they are admired; and 
yet ointments, like the attar of roses, which melted and 
gave out their scent, and passed into air when placed 
upon the back of the hand, as the coolest part of the body, 
were sold for four hundred denarii the pound. But the 
ointment was not meant to be used quite so wastefully. 
It was usually sealed up in small alabaster jars, which 
were made in the town of Alabastron, on the east of the 
Nile, and thence received their name. These were long 
in shape, without a foot, and had a narrow mouth. They 
were meant never to be opened, but to let the scent escape 
slowly and sparingly through the porous stone. In these 


Egyptian jars scented ointment was carried by trade to 
the banks of the Tigris and to the shores of the Mediter- 

The tenth and eleventh years of the queen's reign 
were marked by a famine through the land, caused by the 
Nile 's not rising to the wished-f or height and by the want 
of the usual overflow; and an inscription which was 
written both in the Greek and Egyptian languages de- 
clares the gratitude of the Theban priests and elders and 
citizens to Callimachus, the prefect of the Theban taxes, 
who did what he could to lessen the sufferings in that 
city. The citizens of Alexandria on those years received 
from the government a smaller gift of corn than usual, 
and the Jews then felt their altered rank in the state. 
They were told that they were not citizens, and accord- 
ingly received no portion whatever out of the public 
granaries, but were left like the Egyptians to take care 
of themselves. From this time forward there was an 
unceasing quarrel between Greeks and Jews in the city 
of Alexandria. 

Cleopatra, who held her power at the pleasure of the 
Roman legions, spared no pains to please Antony. She 
had borne him first a son named Ptolemy, and then a son 
and daughter, twins, Alexander Helius and Cleopatra 
Selene, or Sun and Moon. She gamed, she drank, she 
hunted, she reviewed the troops with him, and, to humour 
his coarser tastes, she followed him, in his midnight ram- 
bles through the city, in the dress of a servant; and 
nothing that youth, beauty, wealth, and elegance could 
do to throw a cloak over the grossness of vice and crime 


was forgotten by her. The biographer thought it waste 
of time to mention all Cleopatra's arts and Antony's 
follies, but the story of his fishing was not to be 
forgotten. One day, when sitting in the boat with her, he 
caught but little, and was vexed at her seeing his want 
of success. So he ordered one of his men to dive into 
the water and put upon his hook a fish which had been 
before taken. Cleopatra, however, saw what was being 
done, and quietly took the hint for a joke of her own. 
The next day she brought a larger number of friends 
to see the fishing, and, when Antony let down his line, 
she ordered one of her divers to put on the hook a salted 
fish. The line was then drawn up and the fish landed 
amid no little mirth of their friends; and Cleopatra play- 
fully consoled him, saying: " Well, general, you may 
leave fishing to us petty princes of Pharos and Canopus; 
your game is cities, provinces, and kingdoms." 

Antony's eldest son by Fulvia came to Alexandria at 
this time, and lived in the same princely style with his 
father. Philotas the physician lived in his service, and 
one day at supper when Philotas silenced a tiresome 
talker with a foolish sophism the young Antony gave him 
as a reward the whole sideboard of plate. But in the 
middle of this gaiety and feasting Antony was recalled 
to Europe by letters which told him that his wife and 
brother had been driven out of Rome by Octavianus. 
Before, however, he reached Rome his wife Fulvia was 
dead; and, wishing to strengthen his party, he at once 
married Octavia, the sister of Octavianus and widow of 


In that year Herod passed through Egypt on his way 
to Rome to claim Judaea as his kingdom. He came 
through Arabia to Pelusium, and thence he sailed to 
Alexandria. Cleopatra, who wanted his services, gave 
him honourable entertainment in her capital, and made 
him great offers in order to persuade him to take the 
command of her army. But the Jewish prince saw that a 
kingdom was to be gained by offering his services to 
Antony and Octavianus; and he went on to Rome. There 
through the friendship of Antony he was declared King 
of Judaea by the senate. He then returned to Syria to 
collect an army and to win the kingdom which had been 
granted to him; and by the help of Sosius, Antony's 
lieutenant, he had conquered Jerusalem when the war 
broke out between Antony and Octavianus. 

In the next year (b. c. 38) Antony was himself in 
Syria, carrying on the war which ended with the battle 
of Actium; and he sent to Alexandria to beg Cleopatra 
to join him there. On her coming, he made her perhaps 
the largest gift which lover ever gave to his mistress: 
he gave her the wide provinces of Phoenicia, Coele-Syria, 
Cyprus, part of Cilicia, part of Judaea, and part of Arabia 
Nabataea. These large gifts only made her ask for more, 
and she begged him to put to death Herod, King of 
Judaea, and Malichus, King of Arabia Nabataea, the 
former of whom had advised Antony to break through 
the disgraceful ties which bound him to Cleopatra, as the 
only means of saving himself from being crushed by the 
rising power of Octavianus. She asked to have the whole 
of Arabia and Judaea given to her. But Antony had not 


so far forgotten himself as to yield to these commands; 
and he only gave her the balsam country around Jericho, 
and a rent-charge of two hundred talents, or one hun- 
dred and fifty thousand dollars, a year, on the revenues 
of Judaea. On receiving this large addition to her king- 
dom, and perhaps in honour of Antony, who had then lost 
all power in Italy but was the real king of Egypt and its 
Greek provinces, Cleopatra began to count the years of 
her reign afresh: what was really the sixteenth of her 
reign, and had been called the sixteenth of Ptolemy, her 
elder brother, she called the first of her own reign, and 
she reckoned them in the same way till her death. Cleo- 
patra had accompanied Antony on his expedition against 
Armenia, as far as the river Euphrates, and returned 
through Damascus to Judaea. There she was politely 
received by her enemy Herod, who was too much in fear 
of Antony to take his revenge on her. She farmed out 
to him the revenues of her parts of Arabia and Judaea, 
and was accompanied by him on her way towards Egypt. 
But after wondering at the wasteful feasts and gifts, 
in which pearls and provinces were alike trifled with, we 
are reminded that even Cleopatra was of the family of 
the Lagidae, and that she was well aware how much the 
library of the museum had added to the glory of Alex- 
andria. It had been burnt by the Roman troops under 
Caesar, and, to make amends for this, Antony gave her 
the large library of the city of Pergamus, by which 
Eumenes and Attalus had hoped to raise a school that 
should equal the museum of Alexandria. Cleopatra 
placed these two hundred thousand volumes in the temple 


of Serapis; and Alexandria again held the largest library 
in the world; while Pergamus ceased to be a place of 
learning. By the help of this new library, the city still 
kept its trade in books and its high rank as a school of 
letters; and, when the once proud kingdom of Egypt was 
a province of Rome, and when almost every trace of the 
monarchy was lost, and half a century afterwards Philo, 
the Jewish philosopher of Alexandria, asked, " Where 
are now the Ptolemies? " the historian could have found 
an answer by pointing to the mathematical schools and 
the library of the Serapeum. 

But to return to our history. When Antony left Cleo- 
patra, he marched against the Parthians, and on his re- 
turn he again entered Alexandria in triumph, leading 
Artavasdes, King of Armenia, chained behind his chariot 
as he rode in procession through the city. He soon after- 
wards made known his plans for the government of 
Egypt and the provinces. He called together the Alex- 
andrians in the Gymnasium, and, seating himself and 
Cleopatra on two golden thrones, he declared her son 
Caesarion her colleague, and that they should hold Egypt, 
Cyprus, Africa, and Coele-Syria. To her sons by himself 
he gave the title of kings the children of kings; and to 
Alexander, though still a child, he gave Armenia and 
Media, with Parthia when it should be conquered; and 
to Ptolemy he gave Phoenicia, Syria, and Cilicia. Cleo- 
patra wore the sacred robe of Isis, and took the title of 
the New Isis, while the young Alexander wore a Median 
dress with turban and tiara, and the little Ptolemy a 
long cloak and slippers, with a bonnet encircled by a 


diadem, like the successors of Alexander. Antony him- 
self wore an Eastern scimetar by his side, and a royal 
diadem round his head, as being not less a sovereign than 
Cleopatra. To Cleopatra he then gave the whole of his 
Parthian booty, and his prisoner Tigranes. 

But notwithstanding Antony's love for Cleopatra, her 
falsehood and cruelty were such that when his power in 
Rome fell he could no longer trust her. He even feared 
that she might have him poisoned, and would not eat or 

drink in her palace without 
having the food first tasted 
herself. But she had no such 
thoughts, and only laughed 
at him for his distrust. One 


at the same time her good faith, she had the flowers 
with which he was to be crowned, as he reclined at 
her dinner-table, dipped in deadly poison. Antony 
dined with these round his head, while she wore a crown 
of fresh flowers. During the dinner Cleopatra playfully 
took off her garland and dipped it in her cup to flavour 
the wine, and Antony did the same with his poisoned 
flowers, steeping them in his own cup of wine. He even 
raised it to his lips to drink, when she hastily caught hold 
of his hand. " Now," said she, " I am the enemy against 
whom you have latterly been so careful. If I could have 
endured to live without you, that draught would have 
given me the opportunity." She then ordered the wine 
to be taken to one of the condemned criminals, and sent 
Antony out to see that the man died on drinking it. 



On the early coins of Cleopatra we see her head on 
the one side and the eagle or the cornucopia on the other 
side, with the name of " Queen Cleopatra." After she 
had borne Antony children, we find the words round 
their heads, " Of Antony, on the conquest of Armenia; " 
" Of Cleopatra the queen, and of the kings the children 
of kings." On the later coins we find the head of Antony 
joined with hers, as king and queen, and he is styled 
" the emperor " and she " the young goddess." Cleopatra 
was perhaps the last Greek sovereign that bore the title 
of god. Nor did it seem unsuitable to her, so common had 
the Greeks of Asia and Egypt made that epithet, by 
giving it to their kings, and even to their kings' families 
and favourites. But the use of the word made no change 
in their religious opinions; they never for a moment 
supposed that the persons whom they so styled had any 
share in the creation and government of the world. 

The death of Julius Caesar and afterwards of Brutus 
and Cassius had left Antony with the chief sway in the 
Roman world; but his life of pleasure in Egypt had done 
much to forfeit it; and Octavianus, afterwards called 

Augustus, had been for 
some time rising in power 
against him. His party, 
however, was still strong 
enough in Rome to choose 
for consul his friend Sosius, 
who put the head of Antony on one side of his coins, 
and the Egyptian eagle and thunderbolt on the other. 
Soon afterwards Antony was himself chosen as consul 




elect for the coming year, and he then struck his last 
coins in Egypt. The rude copper coins have on one side 
the name of " The queen, the young goddess" and on the 
other side of " Antony, Consul a third time. 71 But he 
never was consul for the third time; before the day of 
entering on the office he was made an enemy of Rome by 
the senate. Octavianus, however, would not declare war 
against him, but declared war against Cleopatra, or 
rather, as he said, against Mardion her slave, Iris her 
waiting - woman, and Charmion, another favourite 
woman; for these had the chief management of Antony's 

At the beginning of the year b. c. 31, which was to 
end with the battle of Actium, Octavianus held Italy, 
Gaul, Spain, and Carthage, with an army of eighty thou- 
sand foot, twelve thousand 
horse, and a fleet of two 
hundred and fifty ships: 
Antony held Egypt, Ethi- 
opia, and Cyrene, with one 
hundred thousand foot, 
twelve thousand horse, and five hundred ships; he was 
followed by the kings of Africa, Upper Cilicia, Cappa- 
docia, Paphlagonia, Commagene, and Thrace; and he re- 
ceived help from the kings of Pontus, Arabia, Judaea, 
Lycaonia, Galatia, and Media. Thus Octavianus held 
Rome, with its western provinces and hardy legions, 
while Antony held the Greek kingdom of Ptolemy Phila- 
delphus. Cleopatra was confident of success and as boast- 
ful as she was confident. Her most solemn manner of 



promising was: " As surely as I shall issue my decrees 
from the Roman Capitol." But the mind of Antony was 
ruined by his life of pleasure. He carried her with him 
into battle, at once his strength and his weakness, and 
lie was beaten at sea by Octavianus, on the coast of 
Epirus, near Actium. This battle, which sealed the fate 
of Antony, of Egypt, and of Rome, would never have 
been spoken of in history if he had then had the courage 
to join his land forces; but he sailed away in a fright 
with Cleopatra, leaving an army larger than that of 
Octavianus, which would not believe that he was gone. 
They landed at Parsetonium in Libya, where he remained 
in the desert with Aristocrates the rhetorician and one 
or two other friends, and sent Cleopatra forward to 
Alexandria. There she talked of carrying her ships 
across the isthmus to the head of the Red Sea, along the 
canal from Bubastis to the Bitter Lakes, and thence 
flying to some unknown land from the power of the con- 
queror. Antony soon however followed her, but not to 
join in society. He locked himself up in his despair 
in a small fortress by the side of the harbour, which he 
named his Timonium, after Timon, the Athenian philos- 
opher who forsook the society of men. When the news, 
however, arrived that his land forces had joined Oc- 
tavianus, and his allies had deserted him, he came out 
of his Timonium and joined the queen. 

In Alexandria, Antony and Cleopatra only so far re- 
gained their courage as to forget their losses, and to 
plunge into the same round of costly feasts and shows 
that they had amused themselves with before their fall; 


but, while they were wasting these few weeks in pleas- 
ure, Octavianus was moving his fleet and army upon 

When he landed on the coast, Egypt held three mil- 
lions of people; he might have been met by three hundred 
thousand men able to bear arms. As for money, which 
has sometimes been called the sinews of war, though 
there might have been none in the treasury, yet it could 
not have been wanting in Alexandria. But the Egyptians, 
like the ass in the fable, had nothing to fear from a change 
of masters; they could hardly be kicked and cuffed worse 
than they had been; and, though they themselves were 
the prize struggled for, they looked on with the idle stare 
of a bystander. Some few of the garrisons made a show 
of holding out; but, as Antony had left the whole of 
his army in Greece when he fled away after the battle 
of Actium, he had lost all chance of safety. 

When Pelusium was taken, it was said by some that 
Seleucus the commander had given it up by Cleopatra's 
orders; but the queen, to justify herself, put the wife 
and children of Seleucus into the hands of Antony to be 
punished if he thought fit. When Octavianus arrived 
in front of Alexandria he encamped not far from the 
hippodrome, a few miles from the Canopic or eastern 
gate. On this Antony made a brisk sally, and, routing 
the Roman cavalry, returned to the city in triumph. 
On his way to the palace he met Cleopatra, whom he 
kissed, armed as he was, and recommended to her favour 
a brave soldier who had done good service in the battle. 
She gave the man a cuirass and helmet of gold; but he 



saw that Antony's cause was ruined; his new-gotten 
treasure made him selfish, and he went over to the ene- 
my's camp that very night. The next morning Antony 
ordered out his forces, both on land and sea, to engage 
with those of Octavianus; but he was betrayed by his 
generals: his fleet and cavalry deserted him without a 


blow being struck; and his infantry, easily routed, re- 
treated into the city. 

Cleopatra had never acted justly towards her Jewish 
subjects; and, during a late famine, had denied to them 
their share of the wheat distributed out of the public 
granaries to the citizens of Alexandria. The Jews in 
return showed no loyalty to Cleopatra, nor regret at her 
enemy's success; and on this defeat of her troops her 


rage fell upon them. She made a boast of her cruelty 
towards them, and thought if she could have killed all 
the Jews with her own hand she should have been repaid 
for the loss of the city. On the other hand, Antony 
thought that he had been betrayed by Cleopatra, as she 
had received many messengers from Octavianus. To 
avoid his anger, therefore, she fled to a monument which 
she had built near the temple of Isis, and in which she 
had before placed her treasure, her gold, silver, emeralds, 
pearls, ebony, ivory, and cinnamon, together with a large 
quantity of flax and a number of torches, as though to 
burn herself and her wealth in one flame. Here she re- 
tired with two of her women, and secured herself with 
bars and bolts, and sent word to Antony that she was 
dead. Antony, when he heard it, believing that she had 
killed herself, and wishing not to be outdone in courage 
by a woman, plunged his sword into his breast. But the 
wound was not fatal, and when Cleopatra heard of it 
she sent to beg that he would come to her. Accordingly 
his servants carried him to the door of her monument. 
But the queen, in fear of treachery, would not suffer the 
door to be opened; but she let a cord down from the 
window, and she with her two women drew him up. 
Nothing could be more affecting than the sight to all 
who were near; Antony covered with blood, in the ago- 
nies of death, stretching out his hands to Cleopatra, and 
she straining every nerve and every feature of her face 
with the effort she was making. He was at last lifted 
in at the window, but died soon afterwards. By this 
time the city was in the power of Octavianus; he had 


not found it necessary to storm the walls, for Antony's 
troops had all joined him, and he sent in Gallus to en- 
deavour to take Cleopatra alive. This he succeeded in 
doing by drawing her into conversation at the door of 
her monument, while three men scaled the window and 
snatched out of her hand the dagger with which she would 
have stabbed herself. 

Octavianus, henceforth called Augustus, began by 
promising his soldiers two hundred and fifty drachmas 
each as prize money, for not being allowed to plunder 
Alexandria. He soon afterwards entered the city, not 
on horseback armed at the head of his victorious legions, 
but on foot, leaning on the arm of the philosopher Arius; 
and, as he wished to be thought as great a lover of learn- 
ing as of mercy, he gave out that he spared the place 
to the prayers of his Alexandrian friend. He called the 
Greek citizens together in the gymnasium, and, mount- 
ing the tribunal, promised that they should not be hurt. 
Cleopatra's three children by Antony, who had not the 
misfortune to be of the same blood with the conqueror, 
were kindly treated and taken care of; while Csesarion, 
her son by Julius Caesar, who was betrayed by his tutor 
Rhodon while flying towards Ethiopia, was put to death 
as a rival. The flatterers of the conqueror would of 
course say that Csesarion was not the son of Julius, but 
of Ptolemy, the elder of the two boys who had been called 
Cleopatra's husbands. The feelings of humanity might 
have answered that, if he was not the only son of the 
uncle to whom Octavianus owed everything, he was at 
least helpless and friendless, and that he never could 


trouble the undisputed master of the world; but Augus- 
tus, with the heartless cruelty which murdered Cicero, 
and the cold caution which marked his character through 
life, listening to the remark of Arius, that there ought 
not to be two Caesars, had him at once put to death. 

Augustus gave orders that Cleopatra should be care- 
fully guarded lest she should put an end to her own 
life; he wished to carry her with him to Rome as the 
ornament of his triumph. He paid her a visit of con- 
dolence and consolation. He promised her she should 
receive honourable treatment. He allowed her to bury 
Antony. He threatened that her children should be pun- 
ished if she hurt herself; but she deceived her guards 
and put herself to death, either by poison, or, as was 
more commonly thought, by the bite of an asp brought 
to her in a basket of fruit. She was thirty-nine years 
of age, having reigned twenty-two years, of which the 
last seven were in conjunction with Antony; and she 
was buried in his tomb with all regal splendour. 

The death of Cleopatra was hailed at Rome as a relief 
from a sad disgrace by others besides the flatterers of 
the conqueror. When governed by Julius Caesar, and 
afterwards by Antony, the Romans sometimes fancied 
they were receiving orders from the barbarian queen to 
whom their master was a slave. When Antony was in 
arms against his countrymen, they were not without 
alarm at Cleopatra's boast that she would yet make her 
power felt in the Capitol; and many feared that even 
when Antony was overthrown the conqueror might him- 
self be willing to wear her chains. But the prudent 


Augustus was in no danger of being dazzled by beauty. 
He saw clearly all that was within his reach; he did not 
want her help to the sovereignty of Egypt; and from the 
day that he entered the empty palace in Alexandria, his 
reign began as sole master of Rome and its dependent 

While we have in this history been looking at the 
Romans from afar, and only seen their dealings with 
foreign kings, we have been able to note some of the 
changes in their manners nearly as well as if we had stood 
in the Forum. When Epiphanes, Philometor, and Euer- 
getes II. owed their crowns to Roman help, Rome gained 
nothing but thanks, and that weight in their councils 
which is fairly due to usefulness: the senate asked for 
no tribute, and the citizens took no bribes. But with 
the growth of power came the love of conquest and of 
its spoils. Macedonia was conquered in what might be 
called self-defence; in the reign of Cleopatra Cocce, 
Cyrene was won by fraud, and Cyprus was then seized 
without a plea. The senators were even more eager for 
bribes than the senate for provinces. The nobles who 
governed these wide provinces grew too powerful for 
the senate, and found that they could heap up ill-gotten 
wealth faster by patronising kings than by conquering 
them; and the Egyptian monarchy was left to stand in 
the reigns of Auletes and Cleopatra, because the Romans 
were still more greedy than when they seized Cyrene 
and Cyprus. And, lastly, when the Romans were worn 
out by quarrels and the want of a steady government, 
and were ready to obey any master who could put a stop 


to civil bloodshed, they made Octavianus autocrat of 
Rome; he then gained for himself whatever he seized 
in the name of the republic, and he at once put an end 
to the Egyptian monarchy. 

Thus fell the family of the Ptolemies, a family that 
had perhaps done more for arts and letters than any 
that can be pointed out in history. Like other kings 
who have bought the praises of poets, orators, and his- 
torians, they may have misled the talents which they 
wished to guide, and have smothered the fire which they 
seemed to foster; but, in rewarding the industry of the 
mathematicians and anatomists, of the critics, commen- 
tators, and compilers, they seem to have been highly 
successful. It is true that Alexandria never sent forth 
works with the high tone of philosophy, the lofty moral 
aim and the pure taste which mark the writings of Greece 
in its best ages, and which ennoble the mind and mend 
the heart ; but it was the school to which the world long 
looked for knowledge in all those sciences which help 
the body and improve the arts of life, and which are 
sometimes called useful knowledge. Though great and 
good actions may not have been unknown in Alexandria, 
so few valued them that none took the trouble to record 
them. The well-paid writers never wrote the lives of the 
Ptolemies. The muse of history had no seat in the 
museum, but it was almost the birthplace of anatomy, 
geometry, conic sections, geography, astronomy, and 

If we retrace the steps by which this Graeco-Egyptian 
monarchy rose and fell, we shall see that virtue and vice, 



handed justice 
schools opened 


wisdom and folly, care and thoughtlessness, were for the 
most part followed by the rewards which to us seem 
natural. The Egyptian gold which first tempted the 
Greeks into the country, and then helped their energies 
to raise the monarchy, afterwards undermined those same 
energies, and became one of the principal causes of its 
final overthrow. 

In Ptolemy Soter we see plain manners, careful plans, 
untiring activity, and a wise choice of friends. By him 
talents were highly paid wherever they were found; no 
service left unrewarded; the people trusted and taught 
the use of arms ; their love gained by wise laws and even- 
docks, harbours, and fortresses built, 
and by these means a great monarchy 
founded. Ptolemy was eager to fill the ranks of his 
armies with soldiers, and his new city with traders. 
Instead of trying to govern against the will of the people, 
to thwart or overlook their wishes and feelings, his ut- 
most aim was to guide them, and to make Alexandria 
a more agreeable place of settlement than the cities of 
Asia Minor and Syria, for the thousands who were then 
pouring out of Greece on the check given to its trading 
industry by the overthrow of its freedom. Though every 
thinking man might have seen that the new government, 
when it gained shape and strength, would be a military 
despotism; yet his Greek subjects must have felt, while 
it was weak and resting on their good-will rather than 
on their habits, that they were enjoying many of the 
blessings of freedom. Had they then claimed a share 
in the government, they would most likely have gained 


it, and thereby they would have handed down those bless- 
ings to their children. 

Before the death of Ptolemy Soter, the habits of the 
people had so closely entwined themselves round the 
throne, that Philadelphus was able to take the kingdom 
and the whole of its wide provinces at the hands of his 
father as a family estate. He did nothing to mar his 
father's wise plans, which then ripened into fruit-bear- 
ing. Trade crowded the harbours and markets, learning 
filled the schools, conquests rewarded the discipline of 
the fleets and armies; power, wealth, and splendour fol- 
lowed in due order. The blaze thus cast around the 
throne would by many kings have been made to stand 
in the place of justice and mildness, but under Philadel- 
phus it only threw a light upon his good government. 
He was acknowledged both at home and abroad to be 
the first king of his age; Greece and its philosophers 
looked up to him as a friend and patron; and though 
as a man he must take rank far below his father, by whose 
wisdom the eminence on which he stood was raised, yet 
in all the gold and glitter of a king Philadelphus was 
the greatest of his family. 

The Egyptians had been treated with kindness by 
both of these Greek kings. As far as they had been able 
or willing to copy the arts of Greece they had been raised 
to a level with the Macedonians. The Egyptian worship 
and temples had been upheld, as if in obedience to the 
oft-repeated answer of the Delphic oracle, that the gods 
should everywhere be worshipped according to the laws 
of the country. But Euergetes was much more of an 


Egyptian, and while he was bringing back the ancient 
splendour to the temples, the priests must have regained 
something of their former rank. But they had no hold 
on the minds of the soldiers. Had the mercenaries, upon 
whom the power of the king rested, been worshippers 
in the Egyptian temples, the priests might, as in the 
earlier times, like a body of nobles, have checked his 
power when too great, and at other times upheld it. But 
it was not so; and upon the whole, little seems to have 
been gained by the court becoming more Egyptian, while 
the army must have lost something of its Greek discipline 
and plainness of manners. 

But in the next reign the fruits of this change were 
seen to be most unfortunate. Philopator was an Eastern 
despot, surrounded by eunuchs, and drowned in pleas- 
ures. The country was governed by his women and 
vicious favourites. The army, which at the beginning 
of his reign amounted to seventy-three thousand men, 
beside the garrisons, was at first weakened by rebellion, 
and before the end of his reign it fell to pieces. Nothing, 
however, happened to prove his weakness to surrounding 
nations; Egypt was still the greatest of kingdoms, 
though Rome on the conquest of Carthage, and Syria 
under Antiochus the Great, were fast gaining ground 
upon it; but he left to his infant son a throne shaken to 
the very foundations. 

The ministers of Epiphanes, the infant autocrat, 
found the government without a head and without an 
army, the treasury without money, and the people with- 
out virtue or courage; and they placed the kingdom 



under the hands of the Romans to save it from being 
shared between the kings of Syria and Macedonia. Thus 
passed the first five reigns, the first one hundred and fifty 
years, the first half of the three centuries that the king- 
dom of the Ptolemies lasted. It was then rotten at the 
core with vice and luxury. Its population was lessening, 
its trade falling off, its treasury empty, its revenue too 
small for the wasteful expenses of the government; but, 

nevertheless, in the eyes of 
surrounding nations, its trade 
and wealth seemed boundless. 
Taste, genius, and poetry had 
passed away; but mathemat- 
ics, surgery, and grammar 
still graced the museum. The 
decline of art is shown upon 
the coins, and even in the 
shape of the letters upon the 
coins. On those of Cleopatra 
the engraver followed the 
fashion of the penman; the 
S is written like our C, the E 
has a round back, and the 
long O is formed like an M 

During the reigns of the 
later Ptolemies the kingdom was under the shield, but 
also under the sceptre of Rome. Its kings sent to Rome 
for help, sometimes against their enemies, and some- 
times against their subjects; sometimes they humbly 

Cleopatra's needle. 


asked the senate for advice, and at other times were able 
respectfully to disobey the Roman orders. One by one 
the senate seized the provinces; Coele-Syria, the coast 
of Asia Minor, Cyrene, and the island of Cyprus; and 
lastly, though the Ptolemies still reigned, they were 
counted among the clients of the Roman patrician, to 
whom they looked up for patronage. From this low 
state Egypt could scarcely be said to fall when it became 
a part of the great empire of Augustus. 

During the reigns of the Ptolemies, the sculpture, the 
style of building, the religion, the writing, and the lan- 
guage of the Kopts in the Thebaid were nearly the same 
as when their own kings were reigning in Thebes, with 
even fewer changes than usually creep in through time. 
They had all become less simple; and though it would 
be difficult, and would want a volume by itself to trace 
these changes, and to show when they came into use, 
yet a few of them may be pointed out. The change of 
fashion must needs be slower in buildings which are 
only raised by the untiring labour of years, and which 
when built stand for ages; but in the later temples we 
find less strength as fortresses, few obelisks or sphinxes, 
and no colossal statues; we no longer meet with vast 
caves or pyramids. The columns in a temple have sev- 
eral new patterns. The capitals which used to be copied 
from the papyrus plant are now formed of lotus flowers, 
or palm branches. In some cases, with a sad want of 
taste, the weight of the roof rests on the weak head 
of a woman. The buildings, however, of the Ptolemies 
are such that, before the hieroglyphics on them had been 



read by Doctor Young, nobody had ever guessed that 
they were later than the time of Cambyses, while three 
or four pillars at Alexandria were almost the only proof 
that the country had ever been held by Greeks. 

In the religion we find many new gods or old gods 
in new dresses. Hapimou, the Nile, now pours water 
out of a jar like a Greek river god. The moon, which 
before ornamented the heads of gods, is now a goddess 
under the name of Ioh. The favourite Isis had appeared 
in so many characters that she is called the goddess with 
ten thousand names. The gods had also 
changed their rank; Phtah and Serapis 
now held the chief place. Strange change 
had also taken place in the names of men 
and cities. In the place of Pet-isis, Pet- 
amun, Psammo, and Serapion, we find 
men named Eudoxus, Hermophantus, and 
Polycrates; while of the cities, Oshmoo- 
nayn is called Hermopolis; Esne, Latopo- 
lis; Chemmis, Panopolis; and Thebes, 
gileco Egyptian Diospolis ; and Ptolemais, Phylace, Par- 
embole, and others had sprung into being. 
Many new characters crept into the hieroglyphics, as 
the camelopard, the mummy lying on a couch, the ships 
with sails, and the chariot with horses; there were more 
words spelled with letters, the groups were more 
crowded, and the titles of the kings within the ovals 
became much longer. 

With the papyrus, which was becoming common 
about the time of the Persian invasion, we find the 


running hand, the enchorial or common writing, as it 
was called, coming into use, in which there were few 
symbols, and most of the words were spelt with letters. 
Each letter was of the easy sloping form, which came 
from its being made with a reed or pen, instead of the 
stiff form of the hieroglyphics, which were mostly cut 
in stone. But there is a want of neatness, which has 
thrown a difficulty over them, and has made these writ- 
ings less easy to read than the hieroglyphics. 

When the country fell into the hands of Augustus, 
the Kopts were in a much lower state than when con- 
quered by Alexander. Of the old moral worth and purity 
of manners very little remained. All respect for women 
was lost; and, when men degrade those who should be 
their helps towards excellence, they degrade themselves 
also. Not a small part of the nation was sunk in vice. 
They had been slaves for three hundred years, some- 
times trusted and well-treated, but more often trampled 
on and ground down with taxes and cruelty. They had 
never held up their heads as freemen, or felt themselves 
lords of their own soil; they had fallen off in numbers, 
in wealth, and in knowledge; nothing was left to them 
but their religion, their temples, their hieroglyphics, and 
the painful remembrance of their faded glories. 



Abydos (Abouthis), 70 

Abyssinia, 159 

Academy, of Plato, 6 

Actiurn, Battle of, 349 

iEschylus, 24 

Agatharcides, 252 

Agathocles, 185, 189-193 

Alabastron, 340 

Alexander iEgus, 57 

Alexander Balas, 236, 237 

Alexander Jannaeus, 269, 270 

Alexander the Great, 3, 4, 15, 22-37, 51 

Alexandria, 5, 7, 22-28, 33, 56, 73, 102, 

111, 117, 151, 216, 240, 259, 321, 356 
Alexandrian Library, 344, 345 
Allienus, 334 
Amasis, 18 
Amnion, 22 
Ammonius, 233 
Amon-Ra (Kneph-Ra, Jupiter-Ammon), 

4, 22, 51 
Amon, temple, 37 
Anacleteria, 203 
Anatomy, 87, 88 

Animal worship, 25, 51, 52, 288-290 
Anniceris, 90 
Antaeopolis, 226 

Antigonus, 57, 58, 61, 62, 66, 75-77 
Antioch, 61 

Antiochus Cyzicenus, 264, 265 
Antiochus Epiphanes, 214-218 
Antiochus the Great, 179, 180, 194 
Antiochus Theos, 145 
Antipatros, 36 
Antiphilus, 91, 92 
Apelles, 84 

Apis, 4, 21, 51, 52, 288, 289 
Apis-Osiris, 4 
Apollinopolis Magna, 229 
Apollodorus Gelous, 128 
Apollonia, 34 
Apollonius, 6, 24, 209 
Apollonius of Citium, 313, 314 
Apollonius of Perga, 173 

Apollonius Rhodius, 171 

Arabia, 24 

Arabia Petraea, 65 

Aratus, 126, 139, 140 

Archelaus, 307 

Archimedes, 173, 174, 184 

Architecture, 363, 364 

Arete, 90 

Aristarchus, 126, 232, 233, 258 

Aristippus, 89 

Aristobolus, 258 

Aristomenes, 200, 206, 207 

Aristophanes, the grammarian, 167, 232, 

Aristotle, 7, 22 
Arius, 353 

Army, Egypt, 147, 148, 307, 313, 361 
Arridaeus. See Philip Arridaeus 
Arsinoe, 96, 339 
Arsinoeum, 143 

Art, Egypt, 8, 136, 137, 162, 362 
Artapanos, 12 
Astronomy, 125-127, 332 
Augustus. See Octavianus 


Babylonia, 19 
Balacrus, 24 
Berenice, 94, 95, 175 
Bible, Hebrew, 245, 246 
Bion, 232, 233 
Britain, 336 
Burial customs, 292-294 

Caesar Julius, 304, 305, 316, 319-331 

Caesarion, 329, 353 

Calendar, Roman, 332 

Callimachus, 121, 171 

Camelopard, 330 

Cambyses, 4, 52 

Canals, 113 

Canon of Cleopatra, 322 

Canopus, 22, 26, 70 


Caravans, 258 

Caricature, 295 

Carneades of Cyrene, 171 

Cassander, 57, 06, 73 

Cassius Longinus, 220 

Cato the Censor, 242, 303 

Cat worship, 290 

Cicero, 304, 330 

Cleoinenes, 24-28, 30, 32, 176-178 

Cleoinenes, King of Sparta, 159 

Cleopatra, 315-354 

Cleopatra Berenice, 274, 280-283 

Cleopatra Cocce, 239, 241, 262, 264-268, 

Coast survey, 252 
Cochlea, or Screw-pump, 173 
Coins, Egypt, 82-84, 141-143, 175, 176, 

188, 189, 210, 236, 237, 273-275, 280, 

346-348, 362 
Coins, Roman, 108, 195, 300, 304 
Colossus of Rhodes, 184 
Conon, 172 

Contracts, Form of, 28 
Contra-Latopolis, temple, 268 
Cornelia, 220 
Costume, Egypt, 81 
Creation, Theory of, 286-288 
Crocodile worship, 25 
Crocodilopolis, 25 
Ctesibus, 120 
Culture, Egyptian, 8, 56 

Greek, 3, 10, 11 
Cybiosactes, 307 
Cynocephalae, battle, 197 
Cyprus, 47, 59, 220, 221 
Cyrene, 23, 34, 58, 59, 109, 110 
Cyrenaica, 34 


Darius, 25 

Deed of sale, 230 

Demetrius Phalereus, 5, 117, 118 

Demetrius the philosopher, 300 

Didymus, 332 

Dinocrates, 23 

Diodorus Siculus, 85, 283, 284 

Dioscorides, 333 

Doloaspis, 24 

Duties, export, 27 


Earthquake, at Rhodes, 184 
Elephants, 115, 180 
Embalming, 7, 292, 293 
Enchorial, 365 
Epicides, 35 

Ephippus, 24 

Erasistratus, 86, 87 

Eratosthenes, 6, 108, 188 

Euclid, 6, 84, 119 

Eudoxus, 257, 265-266 

Eugnostus, 24 

Eumenes, 38, 40 

Eupator. See Ptolemy Philopator 

Euphrates, 25 

Eurydice, 94, 95 

Explorations, 257, 258, 265, 266 


Gabinius, 306-308, 311 

Gauls, 110 

Gold mining, 251, 296-299 

Government, Egypt, 52-54 

Grain, 27 

Great seal of Egypt, 186 

Greek, culture and civilisation, 3, 5 
Cities in Egypt, 54-56 
Language in Egypt, 226 


Hades, 5 

Hahiroth. See Heroopolis 

Hapimou, 364 

Hebrews, 11-14 

Hegesias, 88 

Helena, 136, 137 

Hellas, 9 

Helios, 4 

Hephsestos, 4 

Heraclides Lembus, 218 

Hermes, 4 

Hermopolites, 67 

Hero, 235 

Herod, 343 

Heroopolis, 24, 69 

Herophilus, 6, 87, 88 

Hierax, 246 

Hieroglyphics, 162, 165, 204, 364 

Hipparchus, 6, 125, 235 

Homer, 22, 23, 233, 234 

Temple of, 8, 188 
Horses, 115 

Imothph, 210 

India, 256 

Inscriptions, 160, 251, 264 

I oh, 364 • 

Isis, 116, 233, 364 

Jason of Cyrene, 244 


Jesus, son of Sirach, 245 

Jews, 70, 73, 138, 155, 156, 181, 182, 

224, 243-245, 267, 302, 328, 351, 352 
Judaea, 9, 301 

Judseo-Hellenic philosophy, 11, 12 
Judas Maccabaeus, 246 
Jupiter-Ammon. See Amon-Ra 


Kakergetes, 222 

Karuak, 52, 161 

Khufui (Kheops), 285 

King's mother, Rank of, 264 

Kneph, 70 

Kneph-Ra. See Amon-Ra 

Kopts, 97-100, 267, 277 

Lagidae, 3-6 

Laomedon, 50 

Lathyrus. See Ptolemy Soter II. 

Laws, 294, 295 

Libraries, 117 

Library, Alexandria, 5, 7, 344, 345 

Library, Pergamus, 261 

Libya, 24, 34 

Licidas, 24 

Lighthouse, 28, 112, 242 

Lucullus, 278, 279 

Lycon, 168, 171 

Lycophron, 172 

Lysimachus, 57, 66 


Magas, 109, 110, 175, 176 

Mandoo, 333 

Manetho, 9, 12, 128-133 

Marcus Lepidus, 195 

Mark Antony, 307, 326, 327, 329, 334, 

335, 338-345, 348-353 
Marriage laws, 141 
Mazakes, 17 
Melanthus, 136 
Memnon, 69 
Memnonium, 69 

Memphis, 4, 18, 22, 23, 38, 39, 284, 285 
Memphites, 241, 247 
Menander, 122 
Meroe, 144 

Miamun Ramses. See Memnon 
Military tactics, Roman, 197, 198 
Mining, 251, 296-299 
Mithridates of Pergamus, 326 
Monasticism, 230 
Morals, 365 
Moschus of Syracuse, 232 

Moses, 12, 13 

Mummies, 293, 294 

Museum of Alexandria, 5, 7, 117 


Nabataeans, 62, 65 

Naval power, 178 

Negro slaves, 231 

Neo-Platonism, 7 

Neus Dionysus. See Ptolemy Auletea. 

New Isis, 345 

Nicander, 235 

Nicanor, 50 

Nile, Commerce on, 18, 112, 243 
Bridges on, 24 

Sacred, 62, 146, 255, 287-289 
Inundations, 252-255, 286, 341 

Nilometers, 253, 254 

Nomes, 67 


Obelisk, 251 

Octavianus, 348-356 

Ointments, 340 

Onias, 224, 226 

Ophelas, 34, 35 

Oracle of Ammon, 27 

Osaripi. See Osiris-Apis 

Osiris, 4, 103-105, 161 

Osiris-Apis, 4 


Palestine, 10 

Pamphilius, 235 

Pamphilus, 136 

Panaetius, 242 

Pantaleon, 24 

Papyrus, 56, 261, 364 

Paraetonium, 23, 24 

Parchment, 261 

Parembole, 226 

Peithon (Python), 47 

Pelusium, 17, 24, 40 

Perdiccas, 30, 31, 35-40, 42-47 

Pergamus, 261 

Persia, 4 

Petisis, 24 

Petosiris, 133 

Petra, 62, 65 

Peucestes, 24 

Phalanx, Macedonian, 197 

Pharos, 23, 28, 112 

Philae, 116, 251 

Philaetas, 122 

Philetas, 8 

Philip, 194-198 

Philip Arridaeus, 29, 31, 37, 38, 57 

Philo, 278, 279 

Philosophers, 85-91 


Philosophy, Greek and Hebrew, 246 

Philostephanus, 88 

Photinus, 332 

Phtah, 4, 21, 22, 51, 364 

Physcon. See Ptolemy Euergetes II. 

Plato, Academy of, 6 

Pluton. See Serapis 

Polemou, 24 

Polybius, 211 

Polycrates, 200, 209 

Pompey, 300, 301, 305, 315, 316, 319 

Popilius, 218 

Pothinus, 317, 320, 321 

Pschent, 203 

Ptolemies, Achievements of, 356-363 

Ptolemy Alexander, 268, 271-275 

Ptolemy Alexander II., 279-281 

Ptolemy Apion, 271, 272 

Ptolemy Auletes, 280, 283-306 

Ptolemy Ceraunus, 94 

Ptolemy Epiphanes 153, 190-211, 361, 

Ptolemy Euergetes 153-176, 360, 361 

Ptolemy Euergetes II., 215, 217, 219-267 

Ptolemy Lagus. See Ptolemy Soter 

Ptolemy Macron, 216, 217 

Ptolemy Neus Dionysus. See Ptolemy 

Ptolemy Philadelphus, 8, 94, 95, 101-152 

Ptolemy Philometor, 213-239 

Ptolemy Philopator, 8, 176-190, 361 

Ptolemy Physcon. See Ptolemy Euer- 
getes II. 

Ptolemy Soter (Lagus), 4-6, 8, 28-99, 
107, 359 

Ptolemy Soter II. (Lathyrus), 263-265, 

Ptolemy of Megalopolis, 209 

Public readings, 134 

Pump of Archimedes, 174 

Punic War, second, 184 

Pyramids, 284, 285 

Pyrrhus, 80, 95, 107 

Python. See Peithon 

Ra, 4 

Rabirius Posthumus, 308, 311 

Ramesseum, 6 

Ramses II., 6 

Raphia, Battle, 180 

Red Sea, 112 

Religion, Egypt, 8, 51, 364 

Religion, Hebrew, 9 

Revenues, 296 

Rhacatis, 22, 23 

Rhodes, 78, 79, 184 

Roman Calendar, 332 

Rome, 9, 107, 108, 155, 156, 194-196, 208, 
216, 218, 219, 221, 230, 271, 272, 278, 
301, 330, 331, 355, 356, 362, 363 

Rosetta Stone, 203-206 

Rufio, 329 


Sabaces, 17 

Salaries of teachers, 259 

Samaritans, 225 

Schools of Alexandria, 259 

Science, 356 

Scipio Africanus, 242 

Scopas, 200, 202 

Sculpture, 137, 144, 363 

Seleucus, 57, 61 

Septuagint, 11, 139, 245 

Ser apion, 333 

Serapis (Pluton), 5, 364 

Sesoosis (Sesonchosis), 284 

Sextus Pompeius, 331 

Ships, Egyptian, 183, 184 

Silk, 81 

Simon Maccabseus, 243 

Slavery, 230, 231, 251 

Somatophylax, 28, 97 

Sosibius, 127, 186, 193 

Sosigenes, 332 

Sosisthenes, 259 

Sphaerus, 187, 188 

Steam engine, 235 

Stilpo, 85, 86 

Strabo, 8 

Strato, 125 

Sibylline books, 305 

Syria, 47, 50, 58, 59 

Tancheira, 35 

Tarsus, 336 

Tattooing, 182 

Taxes, 148, 165 

Teachers' salaries, 259 

Telmissus, 37 

Temples, 151, 188, 224, 226, 229, 277, 

278, 333 
Temple at Jerusalem, 181 
Thais, 94 
Thebaid, 50, 51 

Thebes, 18, 22, 52, 53, 68, 69, 275-278 
Theocritus, 109, 120, 121 
Theodorus, 90, 91 
Thermus, 241 
Thibron, 34 
Thot, 4 

Timagenes, 311 
Timocharis, 125 
Timon, 135 
Timosthenes, 133 


Tlepolemus, 186, 190 

Tombs, 68, 69 

Trade, Egypt, 27, 50, 51, 70, 113-115, 

148, 255-257, 360, 362 
Trade, Tarsus, 336 
Trade-winds, 258 
Tyre, 23 


Voyages, 257, 266 


Water-clock, 120 
Writing, 265, 362, 365 

Zabbineus, 248 
Zenodotus, 119 
Zeus, 4 
Zoilus, 134 


V *